ZHOUSHAN, April 4 (ChinaMil) -- The 20th Chinese naval escort taskforce departs from a military port in Zhoushan, east China's Zhejiang province, and heads for the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somali coast on the morning of April 3, 2015, to replace the 19th escort taskforce to continue the mission of combating pirates and escorting merchant ships.
Rear Admiral Du Jingchen, deputy commander of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLAN), on behalf of the PLAN Commander Admiral Wu Shengli, , and Political Commissar Vice Admiral Miao Hua, attended the send-off ceremony held on Friday at the wharf in a military port in Zhoushan.
Du Jingchen said that the PLAN has dispatched 19 batches of taskforces to fulfill the escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somali coast. The Chinese naval fleets have provide escort service for 5900-plus Chinese and foreign civil ships in 825 batches. At the same time, they also successfully completed some important and emergency tasks such as evacuating Chinese nationals from Libya, escorting the maritime transportation of chemical weapons from Syria, providing emergency water supply to Maldives as well as evacuating Chinese citizens from Yemen.
The current security situation in the Gulf of Aden faces new threats and the anti-piracy task is arduous. Du Jingchen urged the 20th escort taskforce to use the experience of its predecessor for reference and keep close watch on the piracy activities and development of the surrounding situations.
The PLAN's new escort taskforce is composed of the missile destroyer Ji'nan, missile frigate Yiyang and supply ship Qiandaohu. The destroyer Ji'nan, commissioned to the Chinese Navy just in the end of 2014, is a newcomer in the escort fleet while the supply ship Qiandaohu has performed escort missions for 3 times.
The taskforce is equipped with 2 ship-borne helicopters and has more than 800 officers and men including tens of special operation troops.
The commanding officer of the 20th Chinese naval escort taskforce is Senior Captain Wang Jianxun, who is deputy chief of staff of the PLAN's East China Sea Fleet.