A South Korean warship has caught up with a supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates but is keeping its distance from the vessel for the sake of the crew's safety, officials said yesterday.
The destroyer has tracked down the 300,000-tonne South Korean tanker Samho Dream, which is heading for Somali waters, a foreign ministry official said.
"At around 1.20 am, the destroyer... arrived in waters where the Samho Dream was sailing and she is now operating near the tanker," he told reporters on condition of anonymity. "The hijacked vessel is now moving towards Somalia."
A defence ministry official was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying the warship was staying about 50 km from the Samho Dream for fear of endangering its crew of five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos.
The tanker, carrying an undisclosed amount of crude oil, was seized on Sunday on its way from Iraq to the US state of Louisiana.
A spokesman for Samho Shipping said there had been no word from either the crew or hijackers.