Frigate ESPS Victoria holds joint naval drill with Korean destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sun-Sin

According to information published by the EU Naval Force on October 18, 2021, Operation Atalanta flagship, frigate ESPS Victoria, the Republic of Korea’s destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sun-Sin and the Maritime Security Centre of Oman conducted their first joint naval exercise in the International Recommended Transit Corridor of the Gulf of Aden in the framework of the Joint Sea exercise "Mare Liberum". The Korean frigate is part of the Combined Task Force 151 – the Combined Maritime Forces’ counter-piracy mission in Bahrain.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sun-Sin and frigate ESPS Victoria (Picture source: EU Naval Force)

Based on the scenario of a counter-piracy operation, the joint naval exercise included boarding a vessel with helicopter-borne special operations forces, live heavy machine-gun fire, a search and rescue operation, and complex tactical evolutions at sea. These exercises provide the warships a valuable opportunity to test their communication and coordination linkages, and strengthen the mutual understanding of the ships’ capabilities, practices, and procedures.

The newly adopted EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific calls for more joint activities with Indo-Pacific partners to promote maritime security in the region. It also encourages greater participation of Indo-Pacific partners in CSDP missions and operations. The Republic of Korea welcomes the EU’s stronger engagement in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, the EU intends to strengthen its partnership with the Gulf countries.

In December 2016, the Republic of Korea concluded a Framework Participation Agreement with the EU for participation in EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations, such as EU Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta.

Since then, there have been a number of successful meetings and exercises between EU NAVFOR and Korean warships in the Gulf of Aden over the past few years and has not only provided ships, but also personnel to the Operation.

A Korean staff officer is currently serving in the EU NAVFOR Forces Headquarters on board ESPS Victoria. The EU and the Republic of Korea are committed to pursuing their close partnership in the area of security and defence.

ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin (DDH-975) is a Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer in the Republic of Korea Navy.

Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin class destroyers are multipurpose destroyers of the Republic of Korea Navy. The lead ship of this class, ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sunsin, was launched in May 2002 and commissioned in December 2003

Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyers were the second class of ships to be produced in the Republic of Korea Navy's destroyer mass-production program named Korean Destroyer eXperimental, which paved the way for the navy to become a blue-water navy. Six ships were launched by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in four years.