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Naval escort fleet returns after successful Gulf of Aden mission | Updated: 2016-11-03 13:45

A Chinese naval escort fleet sent to the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia has completed its mission and returned to its home port.

The fleet dropped anchor in Zhoushan port, Zhejiang province on Nov 1 after 209 days at sea, according to China's Ministry of Defense.

The Chinese naval escort taskforce, the 23rd in these waters, consisted of two guided-missile frigates — Xiangtan and Zhoushan, supply ship Chaohu, two helicopters and dozens of special force units.

The taskforce has escorted 79 vessels in 39 missions, since April 7, including a freighter for the World Food Programme. It has also detected and deterred 41 pirate vessels, and visited Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam on goodwill tours. It was also the first Chinese naval fleet to visit Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Port after it opened as an international port in March.

Wang Hai, deputy commander of the Chinese Navy, praised the overall results of the escort mission at the welcoming ceremony. He said meticulous preparations, effective command, and optimized executions have continued China’s naval record of “one hundred percent safety for both taskforce and escort”.

During various goodwill visits, the escort fleet showcased the PLA’s modernized navy as well as the quality of those onboard. The visits also enhanced mutual understanding and promoted friendship and cooperation, Wang added.

The 24rd batch of Chinese naval escort fleet consisted of 700 personnel set sail on Aug 10 to the Gulf of Aden and Somalia. Since 2008, the Chinese navy has escorted more than 6,000 vessels and aided 60 ships in the region, according to the navy.

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