South Korea has deployed a warship to the sea off Ghana after three South Korean sailors were kidnapped by pirates who have now been identified as Nigerians.
The 500t Marine 711 with about 40 Ghanaian and three South Korean sailors was boarded by the Nigerian pirates on 26 March.
The pirates seized the three South Koreans and escaped on a separate speedboat, with their current whereabouts unknown.
The Marine 711, registered in Ghana, later arrived at a port at Ghana where the Ghanaian sailors disembarked, according to the South’s Yonhap news agency.
South Korea’s military said the pirates had been identified as Nigerians, Yonhap reported.
According to the news agency, Munmu the Great, a South Korean warship that had been involved in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, had been sent to the nearby sea.
It’s expected to arrive at the destination near West Africa around April 16, carrying some 30 SEAL members.
The destroyer also carries Lynx multi-role choppers armed with 12.7-mm machine guns.
‘We are closely coordinating with local countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Benin as well as the US and the EU to locate our nationals and secure their release,’ the foreign ministry said.
The pirates have not yet demanded a ransom in return for the release of the abducted sailors.
In 2011, the Unit successfully carried out a gunfight operation to rescue the South Korean crew of a cargo vessel hijacked by Somali pirates.