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13th Chinese naval escort taskforce repels batches of suspected pirate speedboats

By Liao Yufei and Guan Lei (China Military Online)

08:11, January 09, 2013

The 13th escort taskforce under the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) received a letter of thanks on the morning of January 6, 2012, local time, from the "Zhenhua 20" merchant ship of the Shanghai Zhenhua Shipping Co., Ltd, saying that "Thanks to the accompanying escort by the special operation members, we were able to pull safely out of a dangerous sea area. We want to thank the officers and men of the Chinese naval escort taskforce for helping us spend a safe and memorable New Year holiday".

It is learned that the "Zhenhua 20" merchant ship was planning to sail from the Suez Canal towards the Dammam Port of Saudi Arabia. Considering the relatively low freeboard of the ship as well as the frequent piracy activities in the waters, the escort taskforce decided to dispatch special operation members to provide accompanying escort. Led by Yang Liye, political instructor of the special operation team, 4 special operation members boarded the "Zhenhua 20" merchant ship in the waters of the Red Sea.

When the special operation members on duty discovered suspected pirate speedboats cruising in small groups around the merchant ship on the evening of January 1, local time, the special operation element immediately entered into combat deployment and successfully repelled the speedboats.

For the next few days, however, several groups of suspicious speedboats in two and three at least, or in seven and eight at most, tailed the merchant ship. Every threat was dismissed thanks to the proper handling by the special operation members. After being escorted for five days, the "Zhenhua 20" merchant ship successfully arrived at the destination.

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