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Chinese naval fleet sails into Strait of Malacca
Updated: 2008-12-30 13:18

A helicopter of the Chinese naval fleet attends a landing exercise at night on December 28, 2008, while the Chinese naval fleet heads for the Gulf of Aden. The Chinese naval fleet including two destroyers and a supply ship set off on December 26 for waters off Somalia for an escort mission against piracy. [Xinhua]

DESTROYER WUHAN -- The Chinese naval fleet sailed into the Strait of Malacca on Monday after its departure from China's southernmost island province of Hainan on an escort mission against piracts off Somalia Friday afternoon.

The fleet sailed into Singapore Strait Monday morning after over 20 hours' voyage from the South China Sea and arrived at the Strait of Malacca. It is expected to reach the Indian Ocean Tuesday.

The convoy, which includes two of China's most sophisticated naval destroyers, DDG-169 Wuhan and DDG-171 Haikou, and a supply ship Weishanhu, is heading for the Gulf of Aden to join a multinational patrol in one of the world's busiest sea lanes where surging piracy endangers international shipping.

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

The recent pirate attack on a Chinese fishing vessel has raised great concern of the Chinese government and people. Statistics showed that some 1,265 Chinese commercial vessels had passed through the gulf so far this year and seven had been attacked.

The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions calling on all countries and regions to help patrol the gulf and waters off Somalia since June. The latest resolution authorized countries to take all necessary measures in Somalia, including in its airspace to stop the pirates.

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