A Chinese naval fleet returned to east China’s port city of Qingdao in Shandong Province on Thursday after completing its mission of escorting civilian vessels in the Gulf of Aden and in the waters off Somalia.

The 42nd fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, comprising the missile destroyer Huainan, the missile frigate Rizhao and the supply ship Hoh Xil, escorted 29 Chinese and foreign ships during the mission.

Setting sail from Qingdao on Sept. 21, 2022, the escort squad travelled over 100,000 nautical miles during its 191-day voyage.

In December 2008, China began dispatching naval ships to carry out vessel protection operations in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia.