South Korean navy commandos stormed a ship hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean last night and rescued all the crew.
Eight pirates were killed in the raid on the chemical freighter, which was seized along with 21 crew on January 15 in the Arabian Sea while en route to Sri Lanka.
The captain of the 11,500-ton Samho Jewelry was shot in the stomach during the attack, and three commandos also suffered wounds.
'During the operation, our forces killed some Somali pirates and all of the hostages were confirmed alive.'
Eight South Koreans, two Indonesians and 11 from Myanmar were on board the vessel when it was attacked after setting out from the UAE.
Seoul ordered a destroyer on patrol in the Gulf of Aden to give chase and President Lee Myung-Bak ordered 'all possible measures' to save the crew.
Commandos on board a speedboat and a Lynx helicopter were dispatched to rescue the Mongolian ship.
Several pirates were believed to have been killed during that raid, although their bodies have not been found.
The rescue comes as a boost for South Korea's military, which was strongly criticised for a perceived weak response to North Korea's shelling of a disputed border island in November.