By Du Jiangfan and Zhao Yang
GULF OF ADEN, Jan. 7 -- On January 4, local time, the 39th Chinese naval escort taskforce safely escorted eight Chinese fishing boats to the southern waters off the Bab El-Mandeb Strait, successfully completing the first escort mission in 2022.
The escort taskforce received the escort application from eight Chinese ocean-going fishing vessels on December 28, 2021, local time. These fishing vessels were affiliated with China National Fisheries Corp. with a total of 86 Chinese crew members on board. On December 6, they set sail from Yantai, a city in eastern China's Shandong Province, to Moroccan fishing grounds as scheduled while passing through waters of the Gulf of Aden and Somalia.
On January 1, the Chinese PLA naval escort taskforce began its 1,463rd escort mission as converging with the eight fishing vessels. The guided-missile frigate Yantai (Hull 538) also joined the escort taskforce en route when passing through the high-risk sea area.
During the escort mission, radar, infrared device and nighttime searchlight were applied to strengthen reconnaissance and alert, while helicopters were dispatched in key sea areas to conduct air patrol to improve early warning capabilities and ensure the security of vessels under escort.