Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Limited 12-hour humanitarian truce takes effect in Gaza

    Read more

  • French PM calls for calm ahead of banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Video: 'Lack of security' at MH17 crash site, FRANCE 24 reports

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Kerry due in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Africa Asia-pacific

Warships protect Chinese merchant fleet from pirates

Latest update : 2009-01-07

A Chinese naval taskforce has escorted four Chinese merchant ships through the pirate-riddled waters of the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia.

AFP - A Chinese naval convoy arrived Tuesday in the Gulf of Aden on a landmark mission to protect the country's shipping from Somali pirates and escorted its first four vessels, state media reported.
  
The four ships escorted were Chinese merchant vessels, including one from Hong Kong, Xinhua news agency said in a dispatch filed from aboard the destroyer Wuhan.
  
The naval task force, deploying two destroyers and a supply ship, marks China's first potential combat mission beyond its territorial waters in centuries.
  
The convoy was preparing to escort a further 11 Chinese ships planning to navigate the pirate-infested waters off Somalia this week, Xinhua said in a separate dispatch from Beijing.
  
"We will actively provide information and necessary rescue services for those merchant ships passing through the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters," ministry of transport spokesman He Jianzhong was quoted as saying.
  
The fleet was deployed in response to an escalation of pirate attacks on merchant ships, including Chinese vessels, plying the crucial shipping route linking Asia and Europe.
  
The missile-armed destroyers DDG-171 Haikou and DDG-169 Wuhan, and the Weishanhu supply ship, are among China's most sophisticated and have all entered service this decade, Xinhua said previously.
  
They will operate alongside other international warships patrolling the area near the Gulf of Aden, part of the Suez Canal route.
  
Rear Admiral Du Jingchen, commander of the task force, was quoted by Xinhua saying the escort mission "would strictly observe UN resolutions and relevant international laws to fulfil our obligations."
  
The fleet will mainly protect Chinese vessels, including those from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, but on request will also escort foreign ships passing through the area, Xinhua has said.
  
China warned Somali pirates late last month that the naval ships would be prepared to use force against them.
  
"(If) our naval vessels are ambushed by pirate ships we will resolutely fight back to protect our own safety," Rear Admiral Xiao Xinnian told reporters in Beijing.
  
He added that the ships would "suppress" any acts of piracy they came across.
  
Xinhua said the task force included about 800 crew members including 70 soldiers from the navy's special forces, and was equipped with missiles, cannon and lighter weapons.
  
After three months the ships will be replaced by another flotilla, depending on decisions by the UN Security Council and the situation at the time, reports have said.
  
China has said its warships will investigate any suspected pirate vessels, and approach them and demand that they show their relevant documents and certificates.
  
Two helicopters accompanying the flotilla will be used during such tasks, military officials said earlier.
  
About 100 ships -- several of them Chinese -- were attacked by Somali pirates in 2008.
  
Some companies have begun sailing their vessels around Africa, a longer, more expensive route, to avoid the increasingly brazen pirate attacks -- including the seizure of a Saudi supertanker carrying two million barrels of oil.
  
China's navy has said the flotilla faces up to 30 organised groups made up of as many as 1,000 pirates.

Date created : 2009-01-06

COMMENT(S)