SEOUL, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Ukraine held their first joint anti-piracy drills in waters off the Somali coast to improve interoperability of the two nations' navies, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) here said Tuesday.
South Korea's 4,400-ton destroyer and Ukraine's 3,500-ton naval escort ship carried out a series of events Saturday that included Underwater Demolition Teams and Navy SEALs of both nations taking part in onboard search-and-seizure drills, live-fire proficiency, and aviation operations, the JCS said.
After the exercise, captains of the two navies discussed ways to collaborate in fighting piracy and expanding bilateral military cooperations, it said.
"It is very important to cooperate with other nations to protect our own vessels and contribute to the international maritime peace," Navy Capt. Choi Seong-mok said. "The first joint drill with Ukraine has also paved the way for exchanges between the two nations' navies."
South Korea's 300-strong contingent, called Cheonghae Unit, has been deployed in the Gulf of Aden since 2009 to join the worldwide effort to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia.
In January 2012, navy commandos from the Cheonghae unit raided a South Korean freighter that had been hijacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea, rescuing all 21 crew members and killing eight pirates.