Shipping & Shipbuilding News -  3 September 2007 - The Brightest Maritime Daily

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 visit

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, will reply.

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 10).

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 Xiaogang.

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.


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