By Li Tang and Wang Guanbiao
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Nov. 25 (ChinaMil) -- The guided-missile frigate Weifang (Hull 550) of the Chinese Navy arrived at the Port of Cape Town to participate in the joint naval drill among China, Russia and South Africa on the afternoon of November 24, local time. The South African Navy hosted a grand welcoming ceremony at the port.
The crew manned the rails neatly on the deck and waved to the welcome crowd as the frigate Weifang slowly entered the Cape Town port area. Commanding officers of the three contingents including the Assistant to Chinese Naval Chief of Staff Liu Zongcheng, Commander of the South African Naval Fleet Bubele Mhlana and Deputy Chief of Russian Naval Staff Vladimir Zemskov, as well as Chinese Consul General in Cape Town Lin Jing and Chinese Military Attaché in South Africa Shang Hong, welcomed the frigate Weifang at the port, accompanied by over 100 representatives of overseas Chinese.
This is the first time that Chinese, Russian and South African navies conduct joint maritime drill in the southern African waters. The participating forces include frigate Weifang of the Chinese Navy, missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov, medium-sized tanker Vyazma and tug SB-406 of the Russian Navy, as well as frigate Amatola and auxiliary ship Protea of the South African Navy.
It is reported that China, Russia and South Africa will hold the opening ceremony of the drill and host a press conference on November 25. During the port drill phase, Officers and soldiers of the three navies will visit each other’s ship and carry out various activities such as deck reception and marines training.
Frigate Weifang set out from Qingdao, China on August 29 to carry out the 33rd escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somali coast. This is the third time that frigate Weifang has performed escort missions.