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China to send 12th escort fleet to Somali waters

(Xinhua)

08:13, June 29, 2012

BEIJING, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Navy will send a 12th group of ships to the Gulf of Aden to conduct escort missions next month, a Ministry of Defense spokesman said Thursday.

The fleet will leave Zhoushan in east China's Zhejiang province on July 3, ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said during a regular press briefing.

The group, including the missile frigates Yiyang and Changzhou and the supply ship Qiandaohu, will replace a fleet previously sent to prevent attacks by pirates.

Chinese naval vessels have escorted more than 4,700 ships in the region thus far, about 49 percent of which were foreign vessels, Geng said. The naval vessels have protected 41 of the ships from pirate attacks to date, he said.

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