Chinese warships on view in Durban

2011-04-05 00:00

TWO Chinese naval warships, en route from Libya, arrived at the Port of Durban yesterday in preparation for their week long stay in the country.

At the invitation of the South African Navy the guided missile frigates (FFG), Zhoushan and Xuzhou — which form part of the People’s Liberation Army Seventh Escort Task Force — arrived early yesterday morning and were welcomed by their South African counterparts.

FFG Xuzhou was recently dispatched to Libya to escort the Greek passenger liner Venizelons which required aid evacuating 2 142 Chinese nationals from the continuing violence in the region.

Prior to their involvement in Libya, the two frigates had been operating in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, which have been ravaged by pirate gangs over the last five years.

The Seventh Escort Task Force safely escorted 578 merchant vessels and rescued a further eight.

Diplomatic visits have not been unusual in recent years. In August 2000 Chinese missile destroyers, Shenzhen and Nancang, arrived in SA followed by the South African Navy’s SAS Spioenkop’s docking in Shanghai during October 2008.

SAS Spioenkop’s visit formed part of celebrations to commemorate the 10th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and SA.

South Africans who are interested in visiting the warships can make such arragements with the Chinese Consulate General in Durban, Mr. Li Jun on 076 174 2938.

— Witness Reporter.




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