Chinese navy vessels to join anti-piracy mission

December 26th, 2008 - 4:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Sanya (China), Dec 26 (Xinhua) Chinese naval ships set sail for Somalia Friday from a port here to take part in anti-piracy operations.The warships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy were unmoored at the military port by crew members in white naval uniforms who saluted the crowds that saw them off.

Two destroyers, DDG-169 Wuhan and DDG-171 Haikou, and supply ship Weishanhu from the South Sea Fleet will join the multinational patrol in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes where piracy has been threatening international shipping.

The ships will protect Chinese vessels that seek protection when passing through the area, as well as foreign ships on request.

The naval fleet will also provide security to ships carrying humanitarian relief for international organisations such as the UN World Food Programme. It will not charge escort service or protection fees from ships and will be ready to receive protection appeals from Jan 6.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Tuesday that 1,265 Chinese commercial vessels had passed through the Gulf so far this year and seven had been attacked by pirates. One Chinese fishing ship with 18 crew was still being held by pirates.

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