Escort mission of trailblazing significance
By Wang Hui (
Updated: 2008-12-26 17:32

The escort mission of the Chinese naval fleet against piracy off Somali waters is of special significance, said a commissioner with the fleet, which set sail at 1:50 pm on Friday from a port in Sanya, Hainan province.

Photo taken on December 26, 2008 shows the large supply vessel Weishanhu of the Chinese naval fleet which set sail Friday for an escort mission against piracy off Somali waters. []

In a mobilizing speech, Liu Jianzhong, the commissioner of DDG-171 Haikou, said the mission marks the first time China has deployed military force to safeguard national interests overseas. It is also the first time China has mobilized a navy force to fulfill an international commitment and escort important ship routes in open seas.

Two destroyers, DDG-169 Wuhan and DDG-171 Haikou, and the supply ship Weishanhu from the South Sea Fleet will cruise for about ten days to arrive in the Gulf of Aden. The fleet will join a multinational patrol in one of the world's busiest sea lanes where surging piracy endangers international shipping.

The fleet will carry about 800 crew members, including 70 soldiers from the Navy's special forces, and is equipped with missiles, cannons and light weapons.

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