BEIJING, July 5 -- Recently, the 41st Chinese naval escort taskforce escorted six merchant ships to the western part of the Gulf of Aden in succession.
After the arrival at the gathering point in eastern Gulf of Aden, the escorted merchant ships Heilan Journey and Eemslift Nelli set sail with the PLA Navy’s guided-missile destroyer Suzhou (Hull 132), which was attached to the 41st Chinese naval escort taskforce, towards the predetermined waters as scheduled. After more than 600 nautical miles’ voyage, the ships reached the all-clear area in the western Gulf of Aden, and the naval taskforce returned to the gathering point in eastern Gulf of Aden as planned to continue the following tasks of escorting merchant ships Darlene, Nasco Jade, Heilan Song and Horn of Harmony, to the designated sea area.
To ensure the security of the escorted merchant ships, the Chinese naval taskforce, in light of recent local sea conditions, kept vigilance and anti-terrorism and anti-piracy deployment all the trip. They used ship-borne radar, electronic reconnaissance equipment, and photoelectric detection equipment to observe and search for small targets at close range at sea. The helicopters were also on standby throughout the whole process. Meanwhile, the taskforce kept real-time communication with the escorted ships regularly.
During the voyage, the Chinese crew members onboard the ship Heilan Journey raised the national flag of China on the deck and hung up a banner saying “Many thanks to the Chinese Navy for escorting” to express their gratitude.
According to Huang Hua, chief of staff of the taskforce, the escorting mission serves as a test of the taskforce’s ability to perform military operations other than war (MOOTW). The taskforce will maintain sharp vigilance to ensure that various emergencies are to be handled prudently.