Three Chinese Navy ships to visit Cape Town next week


Another visit to Cape Town by ships of the Chinese Navy will take place this weekend.

On Sunday 23 July the destroyer Nanning 162, the frigate San Ya 574, and replenishment ship Weishanhu 887 will arrive for a three-day courtesy call, departing on Wednesday 27 July.

The flotilla or 43rd escort group will be arriving from a number of calls made in West and Central Africa, including the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Visits to the West African countries by ships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) are rare and signal the intention of the Chinese naval authorities to widen their sphere of influence.

In February this year a different task force consisting of three Chinese naval ships visited South Africa to take part in the naval exercise Mosi II off the KwaZulu-Natal coast. They had earlier seen duty on patrol in the Gulf of Aden region prior to coming to South Africa.

Nanning, San Ya and Weishanhu set sail for the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia in early January, marking the first time for Nanning to perform an escort mission. The PLAN has to date sent 131 warships and more than 32 000 troops in 42 batches to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somali to carry out escort missions.

The Type 052D guided missile destroyer Nanning, pennant number 162, was commissioned in April 2021 after being built at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai as an improved version of the earlier type 052C.

With a displacement of 7 500 tons, Nanning has a length of 161 metres and beam of 17.5 metres. Her propulsion is combined diesel or gas and she is designed for a complement of 280.

The destroyer’s armament consists of a 130 mm gun, a HQ-10 short-range SAM 24-cell launcher, 64-cell Vertical Launch System (VLS) and an array of surface-to-surface, surface-to-air and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missiles. The destroyer also carries a Harbin Z-20 helicopter with appropriate helipad and hangar.

The frigate San Ya (pennant number 574), Type 054A, was commissioned on 30 November 2012 after being built also in Shanghai but at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding yard.

She displaces 4 053 tonnes and has a length of 134 metres and beam of 16 metres. Propulsion consists of a combined diesel and diesel CODAD system of four Shaanxi 16 PA6 STC diesels, generating 5 700 kW or 7 600 hp at 1 083 rpm each and giving the frigate an estimated speed of 27 knots and an estimated range of 8 000 nautical miles.

San Ya has a reported complement of 165 personnel.

The ship’s main gun is a 76mm dual-purpose gun supported by two 7-barrel 30 mm CIWS guns for close-in threats. She carries two ASW torpedo launchers and two anti-submarine rocket launchers with a total of 36 rockets carried. This missile capability consists of HQ-16 medium-range air defence missiles and anti-submarine missiles in a VLS system.

Equipped with a helicopter hangar the frigate should be carrying either a Harbin Z-9C or Kamov Ka-28 helicopter.

The Weishanhu, pennant number 887, is a type 903 replenishment ship that was commissioned in 2004. Displacing 20 500 tonnes, the ship has a length of 178.5 metres and beam of 25 metres.

Her propulsion consists of two diesels driving two shafts for a speed of 20 knots and with a range of 10 000 nautical miles. She carries a complement of 130.

The vessel has a helipad and hangar though she won’t generally be carrying a helicopter on board.

The type 903 is the standard type replenishment ship of the People’s Liberation Army Navy of which nine have been built and are in service.

Sudan evacuation

In April this year the destroyer Nanning and supply ship Weishanhu were requested to assist with the evacuation of 678 people from Sudan, during the outbreak of the civil war in the African country.

Both vessels, which were in the area at the time, were despatched to Port Sudan to assist with the emergency evacuation of mostly Chinese people fleeing the war-torn country. Altogether 678 people were brought onboard the two ships, of whom 668 were Chinese citizens living and working in Sudan, and 10 people of other nationalities.

Those uplifted were taken to the Saudi Arabia’s Port Jeddah, also in the Red Sea.

Written by Africa Ports and republished with permission. The original article can be found here.