While there is danger of reading too much into it, there is clearly a political signal being sent by the Philippine government.
Chinese frigate escorts stranded RP tanker off Somalia
Updated April 27, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - A Chinese navy frigate escorted a Philippine-flagged chemical tanker to safe waters after its release by Somali pirates last week.
A Chinese embassy statement said the missile frigate Huangshan also provided the crew of the 32,400-ton MT Stolt Strength with food and medical supplies.
The escort mission was made upon request of the Philippine government, according to the statement.
Pirates released the Philippine vessel and its 23 Filipino crew on April 20 or five months after it was seized off Somalia.
The Chinese warship found the chemical tanker drifting without fuel in the waters near Hobiya in Somalia.
The ship was low on food and medical supplies.
“On April 25, upon the request of the Philippine government, the missile frigate Huangshan, one of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy vessels on escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, arrived in the waters near Hobiya where it joined Stolt Strength. The tanker was released on April 20 after being seized by pirates for five months,” the press statement read.
China said it began on Dec. 26 last year its deployment of naval vessels for escort missions to the Gulf of Aden in accordance with resolutions of the UN Security Council.
“They have been protecting the vessels and crews of China and international organizations passing through the pirate-infested waters,” the embassy statement said.
The Philippines, meanwhile, has called for greater international cooperation in addressing the piracy problem in Somalia and in assisting sailors victimized by Somali pirates.
The appeal was made by the Philippine delegation before the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families in Geneva over the weekend. But the appeal fell short of pushing for rescue operations for the captive seamen, most of whom are Filipinos.
“The Philippines urges the global community and relevant international bodies to intensify efforts to assist seamen from all nations whose human rights have suffered as a result of piracy in lawless waters off Somalia,” Ambassador Erlinda Basilio, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva said.
She said 105 Filipino seamen still remain in the hands of pirates.
“The Philippines supports efforts led by the United Nations and concerned countries, regional and international organizations, to assist in the stabilization of Somalia in partnership with the government of Somalia to make concrete progress in finding a long-term solution to this international crisis,” she said.
She said her call was in accordance with the policy of the Department of Foreign Affairs led by Secretary Alberto Romulo “to mobilize greater endeavors involving all international forums.”
Undersecretary Severo Catura, executive director of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights and a member of the delegation said the Philippines has completed the review of its compliance with the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families or ICRMW. - With Paolo Romero and Jose Rodel Clapano
Chinese naval frigate comes to escort released Filipino tanker in Somali waters
www.chinaview.cn 2009-04-26 15:33:40
BEIJING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- At the request of the Philippines, a Chinese naval frigate came to escort a Philippine-flagged chemical tanker which has just been released from pirates in Somali waters, according to the press office of China's Ministry of National Defence on Sunday.
The Chinese frigate FFG-570 Huangshan, which was on escorting commission in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters, came to the Hobiya waters on Saturday night to escort the 32,400-ton Philippine merchant ship which was just released from Somali pirates, and provide it with supplies including food and medicine.
The released Philippine-flagged chemical tanker MT Stolt Strength, with 23 Filipio sailors on board, is on its way to safe seas under the escort of the Chinese naval frigate, according to sources with the Ministry of National Defense.
The frigate FFG-570 Huangshan was among the second fleet of Chinese escort ships which has been sent to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters early April for escorting missions through pirate infested waters.
China sent two destroyers and one supply ship last December to conduct a historic escort mission to protect Chinese merchant vessels, as well as those from other parts of the world sailing through the region.
UN Security Council Resolution 1851, adopted on last Dec. 16, authorized countries to appeal to military forces in the narrow Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for a 12-month period.
The Chinese navy fleet escorting activity demonstrates a responsible role of China in undertaking international obligations, and the devotion of China's People's Liberation Army to safeguard peace and security in the region and world. It has also played an active role in safeguarding security of Chinese and international vessels and crews through pirate infested waters, according to the sources.
Statistics from the Ministry of Transport shows that Chinese warships have escorted 130 vessels and rescued three foreign merchant ships from pirate attacks as of early April. Annually about 1,000 Chinese merchant vessels pass through the Gulf.
Editor: Wang Guanqun