Updated August. 08, 2014 00:00
South Korea will dispatch the navy destroyer Munmu the Great (4,500 ton) of Cheonghae Unit to help its nationals evacuate from Libya amid a worsening civil war between Islamic militia groups. The country is also considering a temporary shut-down of the Korean Embassy to Libya when the evacuation is completed.
The Navy ship will leave Omans Port of Salalah on Thursday to arrive in the sea of Libya around mid-August with a mission to evacuate South Koreans, said officials from the National Defense Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Currently, the number of Koreans in Libya is 413. It was 510 as of July 30 when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs designated Libya as a country to restrict the use of a passport (Black alert). The number of Koreans will be reduced to about 150 when the large-scale evacuation is completed by this weekend. By August 15, about 100 Korean workers and non-Korean workers belonging to Korean companies will be also evacuated by ship.
The Korean government plans to dispatch Munmu the Great to evacuate the remaining Korean nationals and diplomats to Greece in the Mediterranean waters. With the maximum capacity of 200, the ship can accommodate the remaining 50 Korean nationals and diplomats.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it has dispatched swift response teams to three countries of Tunisia, Malta, and Turkey near Libya to evacuate and support Korean nationals.
Back in 2011, the Korean government also dispatched the 4,500-ton ship Choi Yeong of Cheonghae Unit and evacuated 30 Korean nationals during the Libyan civil war.