China sends a naval fleet to the Gulf of Aden for the counter-piracy mission

Type 054A frigate YULIN (Photo: China Military)

PLA Navy continues its activities in the East Africa Region. The 37th fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Saturday left the port city of Sanya in south China’s Hainan Province for the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia to escort civilian ships.

The fleet is composed of the guided-missile destroyer Changsha, the missile frigate Yulin, and supply ship Honghu. On board the warships are 700 officers and soldiers, including dozens of special operation troops.

It is the first time for the Changsha to join the escort mission.

Planning to be effective in the region, China invested $590 million to a naval base in Djibouti it rented in 2016. China has stated that the facility will serve primarily to support military logistics for Chinese troops in the Gulf of Aden, and peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Africa. It also bolsters the Chinese navy’s efforts to prevent piracy on high seas, and allows easy accsess for the PLA’s warships into the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

The PLA Navy began to carry out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia in December 2008.