Sunday, November 11, 2012

China's 13th escort fleet departs for Somali waters

The 13th naval escort squad, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Friday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions.

The squad, which left a port in Zhanjiang of South China's Guangdong province, will succeed the 12th escort fleet currently conducting missions in Somali waters.

The 13th convoy fleet includes the frigates Huangshan and Hengyang, the supply ship Qinghaihu, two helicopters and an 800-strong troop. The three ships have all previously conducted escort missions.

Since December 2008, authorized by the United Nations, the Chinese navy has dispatched 12 fleets to the waters of the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters to escort more than 4,890 Chinese and foreign ships.

At Friday's farewell ceremony, Wang Zhaohai, deputy political commissar of the PLA Navy, said the missions have rescued more than 50 Chinese and foreign ships.

Li Xiaoyan, the fleet's commander and deputy chief of staff of the PLA Navy's South China Sea Fleet, said the 13th escort mission will continue to ensure the safety of Chinese ships and personnel passing the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters. It will also assist in the safety of cargo ships carrying humanitarian goods of the World Food Program and other international organizations.

"Sea conditions of the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters will turn better in the next few months, which might lead to more pirate activities and violence," Li said.

No comments: