A Korean naval unit has rescued three foreign vessels from being hijacked by pirates operating off the coast of Yemen as part of a U.S.-led anti-piracy campaign, Yonhap News reported Sunday.
The Dae Jo Yeong, a destroyer with the South Korean naval unit Cheonghae, Sunday rescued three ships registered under Cyprus, the Marshal Islands and the Bahamas from pirates near waters off Yemen at 3:13 p.m. on Saturday, military officials here said.
The last major operation by the Cheonghae unit took place on Aug. 4 when the Korean destroyer captured suspected pirates chasing a Bahamian transport and released them with an admonition.
The unit, which rescued five Yemeni sailors captured by the pirates the previous day, has so far successfully intervened in nine separate pirate raids.
Naval officials said they released the pirates, who had used a boat registered to Yemen as their mode of transportation, due to the difficulties involved in processing and bringing legal charges against them.
The Cheonghae unit is mandated to protect South Korean vessels off the Somali coast, but lends support to ships of other nationalities in nearby waters under a humanitarian banner. The mandate was recently extended by South Korea's National Assembly.