(LEAD) Navy fleet departs for 13-nation cruise training mission

A fleet of South Korean Navy ships departed Monday on a 141-day cruise training mission that will take them to 14 ports in 13 nations, the Navy said.

A total of 151 graduating cadets at the Naval Academy and 500 crew members joined the mission, with the fleet consisting of the 4,500-ton Hansando training vessel and the 4,200-ton Hwacheon logistic ship, the Navy said.

The cadets are expected to begin their 55,600-kilometer journey with a port call at Hawaii and travel across 13 countries, including the United States, Germany, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and India, before they make their final stop in Yokosuka, Japan. The sailors will return home on Jan. 15.

Alongside the training, the cadets are set to visit national cemeteries at countries that fought in the Korean War and hold onboard receptions for veterans and their families to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice and the alliance between Seoul and Washington.

An exhibition booth promoting the country's defense industry will also be installed on the Hwacheon vessel to help boost arms exports, according to the Navy.

Source: Yonhap News Agency