China-based Ningbo Kingbay Yacht Manufacturing Company will be promoting its line of patrol, strike and assault craft at this year's DIMDEX in Doha, Qatar. (Ningbo Kingbay Yacht Manufacturing Company)
TAIPEI — China has become the bane of its regional neighbors in the East and South China seas as it attempts to enforce territorial claims of areas also claimed, and often administered, by neighboring countries.
Yet, off Somalia’s coast in the Gulf of Aden, China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is viewed as the opposite: a stabilizing force and protector of the sea lanes against piracy and terrorism.
Working alongside other international participants, China’s Navy has gained the respect of Middle East oil producers who welcome its participation in anti-piracy missions.
“China’s anti-piracy efforts in the gulf are a success story for China’s soft power and a demonstration of the PLAN’s capabilities to deploy ‘out of area,’ ” said Sam Bateman, a senior research fellow with the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
Though China has not joined any of the international anti-piracy task groups, it has conducted information exchange arrangements with other navies and participated in the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) monthly meetings to coordinate the multinational operations, Bateman said.
PLAN first dispatched two destroyers and a supply ship to the gulf in December 2008. Since then, it has maintained a three-ship flotilla in the gulf on three-month rotations.
A market interest in near-sea patrol with anti-piracy and anti-terrorism missions also reflects China’s two exhibition efforts at this year’s DIMDEX in Qatar.
China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. (CPMIEC) is the country’s main foreign trade enterprise for the import and export of high-technology products in the aerospace and maritime market for both commercial and military fields. At DIMDEX this year, CPMIEC will field products from a variety of Chinese companies that include coastal defense systems, drones, maritime security systems, torpedoes, ship-to-air defense systems and undersea defense technology.
In line with near-seas mission requirements, the Ningbo Kingbay Yacht Manufacturing Co. will be promoting more than just fancy yachts. It will be pushing its line of patrol, strike and assault craft, said Jack Yang, the Chinese company’s business development director.
“Especially for the DIMDEX, we’ll take one model with us to the exhibition, which is our 35-meter fast stealth patrol boat,” Yang said.
The vessel will be able to offer a maximum speed of 52 knots at 110-ton full load displacement, he said. It can be powered by water-jet or surface-drive and is designed to endure rough seas.
Located in Ningbo, China, Kingbay specializes in 10-meter to 40-meter high performance defense and commercial boats that can withstand rough seas of seven- to eight-meter waves. The company has supplied vessels to the China Maritime Authority and China Coast Guard.
Kingbay has worked closely with other ship designers in the past, including Spain’s Marcello Penna Group, Italy’s Naval Design and Consulting, and US-based Setzer Yacht Architects. ■