Korea to Send Gunboat to Somalia

From the Chosun Ilbo….

The government has tentatively decided to send a gunboat to Somalia where Korean sailors are regularly kidnapped by pirates. A Foreign Ministry official on Wednesday said government agencies agreed to send a Navy ship to Somalia with a view to joining international efforts to maintain marine safety and protecting Korean ships from piracy. He said government agencies including the Defense Ministry which had been hesitant have now come round to the idea. Meanwhile, Korea sent a fact-finding mission to Somalia on Monday to look at the particulars. The mission will give check local conditions — including the area where the ship would be sent and the possibility of cooperation with the international combined naval operations command.

The ship will most likely be dispatched early next year since it is subject to parliamentary approval. The 4,500 ton-class Yi Sunshin or Korea Destroyer eXperiment (KDX-Ⅱ) are being mentioned. The Navy’s UDT/SEAL commandos will likely be aboard.

The ship would probably join the Combined Task Force 150, one of the three groups of international naval operations command under the U.S. Fifth Fleet Command in Bahrain. CTF150 consists of some dozen 2,000-3,000 ton-class naval ships dispatched from 10 countries. (englishnews@chosun.com )

The “Yi Sunshin” (also rendered as “Lee Soon Shin“) is the KDX-II class of destroyers.  These are 5,000t full load ships and can carry two helos.   The class entered service in 2003.  Interestingly, they are also the first  ships in the ROKN to have accommodations for females. 

The reporter just had to get the little “factoid” into the story that the ROKs think they will have the BIGGEST ship in CTF-150.  Do they think they will become a flagship?  No comments as to the real tough questions, like what ROE will they operate under.  At least they seem to be bringing more to the table than the Russians; but we will have to see what (if any) VBSS experience the UDT/SEAL team has.

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