The Chinese Navy has, for the first time, engaged in escort operations to safeguard ships in Gulf of Aden waters that may be at risk from pirates.

During the voyage, China’s Zhoushan missile destroyer accompanied two ships, the Erics headed for Oman and the Pulatim headed for Dubai, from the Cayman Islands in the north-western Caribbean.

Both western ships carry eight people and have a maximum displacement of 498t. The Chinese Navy regularly contacted the two ships and used its helicopter air patrol force.

The Zhoushan missile frigate is a warship with a radar-evading hull, equipped with a helicopter for use by the special task forces on board.