The 24th and 25th Chinese naval escort flotillas fired warning shots at four suspected pirate boats attempting to approach a commercial vessel at high speed in the Gulf of Aden on January 1.
The People’s Daily reports that the vessel, the Panama-flagged Bob and Kate, was then safely escorted from the area.
The navy found double hooks on the four boats but no fishing gear.
Pirate activities are reportedly on the rise in the waters of the Gulf of Aden, with several commercial vessels having been attacked and hijacked recently. On October 25 last year, Somali pirates attacked the gas tanker CPO Korea off Yemen, the first such incident since February 2014.
China, although a distant country, has been affected severely by Somali piracy. For example, in November 2008, two Chinese commercial ships were captured by Somalian pirates and many Chinese crewmen were taken hostage.
Since its first offshore operation in 2008, China has sent over 15 naval task forces to the area and has escorted over 5,000 ships, both domestic and foreign, and thwarted more than 30 potential pirate attacks. The nation has also rescued over 40 commercial ships.
China is now Africa’s largest trading partner, and its Maritime Silk Road developments also call for boosting maritime security globally. China’s Defence White Paper published in 2013 stresses that it will protect national maritime rights and interests.