The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) HMAS Darwin has carried out a passage exercise with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) Escort Task Group 152 off the coast of Queensland.

HMAS Darwin started from Sydney to take part in operation Manitou, which seeks to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.

The Chinese task group is comprised of three ships, including Luyang Class destroyer Jinan (DDG-152), Jiangkai Class frigate Yiyang (FFG-548) and Fuchi Class replenishment ship Qindaohu (AOR-886).

The task force has been escorted by HMAS Darwin while passing through the port of Brisbane, allowing both countries to carry out officer of the watch manoeuvres at sea.

"The activity was a valuable opportunity for the RAN and the PLA-N to operate together."

The Chinese task group has completed counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden in 2015, and is in the final stages of its global deployment.

Australia Navy chief vice-admiral Tim Barrett said the activity was a valuable opportunity for the RAN and the PLA-N to operate together.

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"The Royal Australian Navy works with China and all of Australia’s regional partners to provide a stable and cooperative security environment and encourages constructive relations between all militaries in the region.

"Activities such as this provide both countries with an opportunity to operate in close proximity and increase their knowledge of each other’s operating procedures."

The rotation of HMAS Darwin in the Middle East is the 62nd deployment of a RAN ship to the region.

Image: HMAS Darwin, PLA-N Yiyang and PLA-N Jinan transit through waters off the Brisbane coast. Photo: courtesy of Royal Australian Navy