Cheonghae

The ROK took another step today towards fighting piracy, according to Yonhap News:

 South Korea launched a 300-strong naval unit Tuesday to be deployed on a warship to piracy-infested Somali waters to protect its commercial vessels, the Navy said. About 460 South Korean vessels ply the route each year, according to the South Korean government. Over 110 pirate-related incidents took place in the Gulf of Aden in 2008, a five-fold jump from two years earlier. The ceremony marking the launch of the “Cheonghae” unit took place in South Korea’s southeastern port city of Busan, the Navy said in a statement. Cheonghae stands for an ancient naval base set up to combat pirates off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula. South Korea plans to deploy its Munmu the Great destroyer to the Gulf of Aden in mid-March. It will take approximately three weeks for the 4,500-ton warship to reach its destination, naval officials say. The ceremony came just a day after the National Assembly approved the motion to join the U.S.-led multinational efforts to combat piracy in the region. Somalia has not had a functional government nor maritime authorities since its dictator was dethroned by warlords in 1991. Poverty has driven a large number of locals to become pirates. A number of countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Russia, have already joined the anti-piracy campaign. The South Korean destroyer is named after a seventh century conquerer.

Well, if you can get through the really poor English you will see that we really are no closer to a deployment than before.  There is no indication of when Cheonghae will deploy, only that it takes three weeks for Munmu the Great to get from here to there.

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