20,500-ton replenishment ship WEI SHANHU
Chinese warships and 500 sailors
to make rare visit to Portsmouth
Two of China's latest naval vessels arrive on Thursday on goodwill
Two Chinese Navy ships will make a rare call at Portsmouth Naval Base
on Thursday (September 6) for a four-day goodwill visit, bringing
almost 500 naval personnel from the People’s Republic of China.
It is the first visit to Britain by Chinese warships for six years,
and forms part of a visit to Europe by the ships which are among
China’s up to date – the 5,800-ton Luyang-class guided missile
destroyer GUANGZHOU and the 20,500-ton replenishment ship WEI SHANHU.
They entered service in 2004.
The ships will be under the overall command of Rear Admiral Su Zhiqian,
Deputy Commander of China’s South Sea Fleet of the People’s Liberation
Army – Navy, who is flying his flag in the GUANGZHOU. Their call at
Portsmouth follows a visit to St Petersburg, Russia, and precedes a
visit to Cadiz in Spain and to France. They began their 12,000-mile
voyage from their base at Sanya in Hainan Province on July 24.
As she approaches Portsmouth the GUANGZHOU will fire a 21-gun salute
to which the Royal Navy saluting battery at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport,
When the destroyer berths at South Railway Jetty, she will be welcomed
by the Chinese Ambassador to Britain, Mme Fu Ying; the Commodore
Portsmouth Flotilla, Commodore Andrew Cameron; the Captain of the Base
(representing the Naval Base Commander), Captain Iain Greenlees RN;
and up to 400 members of the regional Chinese community in
traditional, celebratory style with drums and dancing. Speeches of
welcome will be delivered on the jetty.
During their visit, personnel from the ships will tour the Maritime
Warfare Training Establishment at HMS Collingwood, Fareham. Admiral Su
with other senior Chinese officers will be given VIP tours of the
historic warships HMS Victory and Warrior, and the Portsmouth-based
aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, with which the visiting ships will
conduct an on-passage exercise when they leave on Monday (September
An inter-ship football match will be played at HMS Temeraire against
an HMS Illustrious team on the Saturday, and a 30-strong band from the
Chinese ships will give a 45-minute concert in the HMS Victory arena
at 2.00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
The GUANGZHOU’s normal armament includes surface-to-surface missiles,
surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine mortars, a 100mm gun and two
30mm guns. The 508ft-long warship is under the command of Captain Zhao
The 584ft-long WEI SHANHU is capable of replenishment at sea and can
carry 10,500 tons of cargo including fuel, ammunition and water. She
is commanded by Captain Chen Zailiang.