Royal Navy Frigate HMS St Albans Shadows Chinese Destroyer Xi’an Through English Channel

The UK Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans is monitoring the progress of a Chinese Navy destroyer, Xi’an, through the English Channel on July 14, Royal Navy announced.

The Portsmouth-based will keep track of the Chinese ship’s activity as it transits through the UK’s area of interest.

“Today HMS St Albans, conducting routine maritime security operations, is monitoring the progress of the Xian as she transits close to the UK coastline,” said Commander John Cromie, the Commanding Officer of HMS St Albans. “This is normal business for the Royal Navy, keeping watch over UK waters at all times. HMS St Albans is one of several warships standing ready to respond at short notice to help keep Britain safe”, he added.

Chinese Navy Type 052C guided-missile destroyer Xian (153) sailing through English Channel. Photo released by Royal Navy.

Since 2016 HMS St Albans has been tasked with a number of maritime security operations in UK waters. She has monitored the passage of several foreign warships through the English Channel and conducted anti-submarine operations in the north Atlantic.

HMS St Albans (F83)
File Photo: HMS St Albans (F83), the 16th and last of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates to be built, during an exercise off the coast of Cornwall. UK MOD Photo: L(Phot) Dave Jenkins

Xi’an is a Type-052C guided-missile destroyer in service with the China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Surface Force. The Type 052C destroyers are the first PLAN warships equipped with fixed active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and vertically launched surface-to-air missiles.

The vessel, currently deployed as part of PLA Navy’s 32nd Escort Taskforce, has recently visited Toulon port in southern France.

The 32nd Chinese naval escort taskforce departed from Zhoushan in Zhejiang Province, PR China on April 4 for its four-month escort mission after the handover with the 31st Chinese naval escort taskforce on May 2. The task force has provided escort for more than 100 Chinese and foreign vessels.

Xi'an (153)
File Photo: PACIFIC OCEAN (July 28, 2016) Chinese Navy Type 052C guided-missile destroyer Xian (153) underway during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ace Rheaume/Released)

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