The nineteenth Chinese maritime anti-piracy task force has left the coasts of China and set forth the Gulf of Aden because China goes on with sea observations in the region.
According to Xinhua, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) division left the city of Qingdao in the province of Shandong on the 2nd of December. It included two missile frigates (Linyi and Weifang), supply ship Weishanhu, two helicopters and above 700 military subunits. The two frigates were used for the first time for such a patrol. The first accompanying fleet was sent by China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters in December 2008. The past 18 fleets had convoyed above 5800 Chinese and foreign vessels and had saved and helped more than 60 ships.
Since the coming of the first task division off East Africa in January 2009, Chinese maritime task groups have been circulated every four months. The 18th PLAN task force, being the newest one, will substitute the older one and will direct its course to East Africa at the beginning of August. It includes the land- and- water- adapted dock landing ship Changbaishan, the frigate Yuncheng and the supply ship Chaohu Lake, three helicopters and 100-member special operation team.
Chinese task forces circulate in regional ports (such as Djibouti, Oman and Yemen) to provide supplies. They have also commenced friendly visits to regional countries. Earlier this year the 16th escort task force paid a call to eight African and South African countries after completing its anti-piracy obligations.