By Xue Chengqing and Wu Kangci
The three foreign ships including the “Hexu Huanle” sail under the escort of the 31st Chinese naval escort taskforce. (Photo by Wu Kangci)
BEIJING, Jan. 3 (ChinaMil) -- Around 12 o’clock on January 2nd, 2019 (local time), the 31st Chinese naval escort taskforce successfully escorted three foreign ships including the “Hexu Huanle” into the safe zones in western Gulf of Aden .
This is the first time that the 31st escort taskforce has conducted escort mission independently. They expelled two groups of suspected pirate boats during the mission.
On December 31st, 2018, the three foreign ships arrived at the rendezvous in eastern Gulf of Aden. Afterwards, they sailed to the west under the escort of the guided-missile frigate Xuchang (Hull 536) and the comprehensive supply ship Luomahu (Hull 964).
At 4:24am of January 1st, 2019 (local time), a suspicious object was identified by radar operator on the guided-missile frigate Xuchang (Hull 536), which turned out to be pirate boats consisting one fishing boat and two skiffs detected by the ship-borne infrared system of Xuchang. While as the suspected pirate boats approached closer, the guided-missile frigate Xuchang fired signal flares to warn them and successfully drove them away.
On the early morning of January 2, a group of suspected pirate boats sailed towards the escort taskforce at high speeds. The escort taskforce first used searchlights and sounded beam to warn them. They then fired signal flares since the warning was ignored by the pirate boats. Finally, the suspected pirate boats turned around and left.