The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s 33rd escort taskforce has returned to a military port in Qingdao on March 25 after successfully completing its escort missions in the Gulf of Aden.
The taskforce consists of the Type 052D “Luyang III” class guided-missile destroyer Xining (117), Type 054A “Jiangkai II” class guided-missile frigate Weifang (550), and the Type 903A “Fuchi” class comprehensive supply ship Kekexilihu “Kekexili Lake” (968).
On August 29 last year, the 33rd Chinese naval escort taskforce set sail for the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia to perform escort missions. The taskforce has consecutively worked for 210 days and escorted 24 batches of 41 ships from China and other countries, ensuring the safety of the escorted ships and the taskforce itself.
During the missions, the taskforce took part in the Multinational Maritime Exercise with Russia and South Africa, which “enhanced the friendship and military cooperation between the three countries, demonstrating the determination of all parties to work together to address maritime threats and challenges and maintaining maritime security”.
On its journey home, the taskforce also made visits to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bangladesh, and Thailand, “fully demonstrating the good image of the PLA and helping strengthen and develop the friendly relations with relevant countries”
The PLA Navy began to carry out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia in December 2008. Over the past decade, the Chinese navy has dispatched 106+ vessels and 28,000+ officers and soldiers to escort 6,700+ Chinese and foreign ships.