The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s 33rd fleet departed the port city of Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province for the Gulf of Aden to escort civilian ships on Thursday.
The fleet is mainly composed of naval forces from the the Northern Theater Command of the PLA Navy, including a Type 052D guided missile destroyer Xining (117), a Type 054A multi-role frigate Weifang (550) and a supply ship. It has more than 600 officers and soldiers, dozens of special operation soldiers and two helicopters onboard.
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 over 28,000 officers and soldiers to escort more than 6,700 Chinese and foreign ships.