Three Chinese war vessels have now joined in the international anti-piracy mission around the waters of
The ships – from the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) – are carrying Chinese Special Forces during the mission in the
One supply ship and two destroyers are patrolling the North Somalian coast in an effort by the United Nations to cut the amount of piracy that spiralled out of control last year.
Military vessels from
The Chinese warships have sailed from their base in Sanya on the southern island
But the communist state’s involvement in the patrols has increased worries about
Stratfor, the Texas-based military and political intelligence forecaster, explained that the deployment of the ships to the Gulf of Aden marks a significant step in the evolution of
“The mission will be complicated, offering vital on-the-job training in refuelling, resupply and repairs far from home as well as patrolling for pirates”, Stratfor said.
“In the event of an accident or a run-in with pirates, would a Chinese vessel carry out repairs at sea, head to a nearby port, perhaps in
Stratfor explained that the
The deployment of the ships from
Past Chinese vessels which have been attacked include a Liquid Natural Gas tanker, the MV Feisty Gas in 2005 and the MT Stolt Valor, a chemical tanker which was carrying almost twenty-four thousand tonnes of oils and chemicals in September last year. Both these ships were held separately with demands for a financial ransom. Together it is believed pirates succeeded in gaining at least £0.9 million – and possibly as high as £1.9 million – in ‘ransom’ money, for the release of the ships.
Since then, a Chinese fishing vessel, the FV Tianyu No.8, was also seized by pirates while it was fishing off the coast of
The MV Zhenhua 4 – another Chinese fishing boat – was attacked on December 17 2008, but the thirty-strong crew fought off the seven pirates that had boarded the ship using water cannons, petrol bombs and beer bottles.
In January 2009, there have been attacks on flagships from
The Egyptian cargo ship, Blue Star, is currently being negotiated for a ransom. The hijacked cargo ship is carrying twenty-eight crew and around six thousand tonnes of fertiliser – a fragile product that could easily land in the hands of an extremist organisation – if it is not bought back quickly by the company that owns it.