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Escorts of Chinese naval task force earn gratitude from ministry
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07:26, February 01, 2009

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China's Ministry of Transport has praised the task force of the Chinese navy for its escorting of 24 merchant vessels in 10 missions through the Gulf of Aden.

Since arriving in the gulf on Jan. 6, the task force has escorted both Chinese and foreign vessels.

The latest mission, unscheduled though, was a Jan. 29 rescue for a Greek vessel Elenig in an answer to its random emergency call.

The Ministry of Transport said on its website that the naval deployment was "an effective deterrence to pirates" and "played a decisive role in safeguarding lives and properties of Chinese shipping companies."

Before the task force was deployed, 1,265 Chinese merchant ships have passed through the Gulf of Aden in 2008, with seven being attacked. One fishing ship and its 18 crew members are still being held by pirates.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) dispatched the task force of two destroyers and one supply vessel on Dec. 26, to fend off pirates attack ships off the coast of Somalia.

Source: Xinhua

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