BEIJING, Dec. 7 -- The 45th Chinese naval escort taskforce escorted the Portuguese heavy-lift cargo ship UHL Fighter and the Panamanian bulk carrier Heilan Rising safely through dangerous waters and arrived at the designated areas on December 4. This marks the 1600th escort task completed by the Chinese naval escort task force in waters of the Gulf of Aden.
At the end of November, the two merchant ships applied for escort respectively. However, there was a conflict in time with the taskforce's arrangement due to the relatively long distance between the merchant ships. At the same time, there were obvious signs of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, so it was difficult to ensure the ships' safety simply by remote monitoring escort. Therefore, the command post of the 45th escort taskforce made the decision to arrange destroyer Urumqi, frigate Linyi and supply ship Dongpinghu to rotate relay and convoy both merchant ships respectively at the same time. After more than 590 nautical miles of navigation in more than 50 hours, the ships arrived at the designated areas successively.
From 2008 to 2023, the Chinese naval escort task force has made 1,600 round trips in these waters, escorting more than 7,200 Chinese and foreign ships safely, of which more than 50 percent are foreign ships. "The 1,600 times of close escort tasks have been rewarded with the trust of the ships to the Chinese naval escort taskforce. Nowadays, some ships would rather wait for a few days for Chinese warships to escort them. There are many ships that have applied for escort many times, and we are very tacit to each other," said an officer of the taskforce.