Commander talks about China's 2nd escort fleet to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters 2009-04-03 15:30:39   Print

    BEIJING, April 3 (Xinhua) -- The second fleet of Chinese escort ships set sail for the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters Thursday to replace a flotilla sent there earlier for escorting missions through pirate infested waters.

    The Liberation Army Daily published an exclusive interview with the commander of the mission, Rear-Admiral Yao Zhilou.

    The first Chinese fleet to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters escorted more than 100 ships and successfully rescued three foreign merchant ships. According to Yao, although these are remarkable achievements, piracy in this region remains rampant.

    The second fleet will continue with the original mission. The destroyer Shenzhen and the frigate Huangshan, together with the supply ship Weishanhu of the first fleet, will guard Chinese ships sailing through the region. They will also escort international vessels on humanitarian missions. Upon request, the Chinese navy will also offer aid to ships from other countries.

    The second fleet expects to encounter more difficulties than the first, Yao said. The collusion between gangs of pirates, the increasing employment of violence and heavy weapons and changes in pirate attack strategies have made the escort missions more dangerous.

    The second fleet will also run into the seasonal bad weather in that area, including the strong winds, storms and high temperatures.

    Yao said that the soldiers have received special training to prepare for and adapt to adverse conditions.

    There are more than 40 vessels from 15 countries escorting in this region. The second Chinese fleet will carry out positive cooperation such as information exchanges and friendly visits with escorting vessels from other countries.

Editor: Wang Guanqun
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