A second group of Chinese navy ships set sail for the Gulf of Aden Thursday morning. They will replace an earlier flotilla sent to guard against pirates.
The new task force will comprise a destroyer, and a frigate, as well as the supply ship, which served in the first escort mission.
With two helicopters and total crew exceeding 800, it's mainly tasked with ensuring the safety of Chinese vessels passing through the gulf and waters off Somalia and those of international organizations like the World Food Program shipping humanitarian goods.
China initiated its three-ship escort task force in December. The ships escorted over 100 vessels and rescued three foreign merchant ships from pirate attacks.
The gulf and the waters off Somalia are on one of the world's busiest marine routes, where surging piracy endangers intercontinental shipping.