All 14 Koreans and six Indonesians on board the container vessel Hanjin Tianjin that lost contact with its operator, Hanjin Shipping, early Thursday are confirmed safe.
The Choi Young naval destroyer from Korea's Cheonghae unit, which is part of the international campaign to wipe out piracy in the area, arrived at the site at around 5 p.m., Korea time, near the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden about 400 kilometers east of Yemen's Socotra Island.
Seoul's foreign ministry says the Korean troops found all 20 crew members inside the freighter's emergency shelter at around 6:40 p.m., after the unit's Lynx helicopter conducted a thorough inspection around the troubled vessel.
The 75-thousand ton ship en route to Singapore from Spain, had remained afloat after it came under some sort of an attack by pirates.
However, there have been no reported sightings of the pirates and the search operation inside the ship's cargo is to continue for some time to figure out what exactly happened when it sent out a security alarm call just before communication was cut off at 5:15 a.m.
Officials add that the international combined fleet's Turkish warship that reached the Panama-registered freighter some three hours after the alarm went off, had already informed Seoul there were no signs of the attackers.
And the 20 people were out of reach since the shelter was only equipped with a marine VHF radio.
Lauding the successful rescue of the Hanjin Tiajin and its crew, officials here in Seoul highlighted the government and shipping companies' joint efforts to maximize the crew's safety from piracy by mock training and maintaining traveling regulations.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.
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