The PLA naval vessels, the amphibious dock landing ship Wuzhishan (Hull 987) and the comprehensive supply ship Chaganhu (Hull 967), ended their mission of transporting disaster relief materials to Tonga and returned to a naval port in Zhanjiang, South China’s Guangdong Province, on the morning of March 21.
Upon the request of the Kingdom of Tonga for volcanic disaster relief, the two PLA naval vessels left Guangzhou city in South China’s Guangdong Province on January 31 and started to transport the second batch of Chinese emergency supplies assistance to Tonga. The mission lasted for 50 days, with a cumulative voyage of more than 12,000 nautical miles.
“The preparation time for this mission is limited, the sailing distance is long, and there are a lot of materials for loading and unloading. This is really a huge test for emergency response capabilities of our troops,” said Chen Yajun, political commissar of the Wuzhishan ship. In order to improve the space utilization rate and loading reliability, they had repeatedly deduced the loading plan.
During the voyage, the sailors kept eyes on the meteorological conditions and the distribution of volcanic pumice and volcanic ash in the sailing area, overcame the adverse effects of volcanic ash, and adjusted the route in time to ensure the safety of navigation.
After docking at the Nuku’alofa Port, Chinese naval sailors worked continuously for 137 hours and completed the unloading task four days earlier than expected. They also used their reserves of fresh water to replenish the local residents.
“The assistance provided by China includes not only urgently needed food and water, but also materials needed for post-disaster reconstruction. We really appreciate the support from China,” stated Tongan Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni.