South Korean and US helicopters have scared off pirates trying to attack an Egyptian ship off Somalia, military officials said on Thursday.
It was the fourth time the South Korean naval unit has driven away pirates since deploying last month. A pirate boat was about 1.8 kilometres (1.1 miles) from the 74,000-ton ship Amira on Wednesday when a South Korean helicopter with a team of snipers aboard swooped in, the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said.
The team drove away the pirates in a joint operation with a US navy helicopter which arrived later, it said. South Korea dispatched a destroyer named Munmu the Great after a former king, carrying a crew of 300 and a helicopter, to help fight piracy off Somalia, where several of its ships had been seized.
Up to 20 foreign warships now patrol the waters to safeguard major shipping lanes. The South Korean unit earlier came to the aid of North Korean, Danish and Panamanian vessels.