31 August 2010

Chinese Hospital Ship “Peace Ark” Sets Sail for Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, Africa to Provide Medical Assistance, Exchange

China’s purpose-built hospital ship, the 10,000-ton Type 920 Daishandao (岱山岛号) Anwei/Peace Ark (AHH 866), has just set out on the first of what will reportedly be annual international deployments to conduct humanitarian operations in the Middle East and Africa.

Peace Ark left the port of Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province on 31 August 2010 with a crew of 428 soldiers, officers, and medical personnel on an 87-day mission to “provide medical services to officers and soldiers of other countries conducting anti-piracy activities” in the Gulf of Aden and “offer medical treatment to local people and carry out medical exchange” in “Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles, and Bangladesh.”

This promises to be an extremely positive Chinese contribution to regional security, and illustrates the increasing potential of Beijing to serve as a responsible maritime stakeholder.

For related analysis by Galrahn on his Information Dissemination blog, click here.

For the first public report that Peace Ark would be deployed to the Middle East and Africa in 2010, see Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, “Oversea Trumps Overland: China’s Oil Supply Future is Maritime,” China Signpost 洞察中国™, No. 1 (26 May 2010).

For detailed analysis of China’s counter-piracy deployments to the Gulf of Aden, see Andrew S. Erickson, “Chinese Sea Power in Action: the Counter-Piracy Mission in the Gulf of Aden and Beyond,” in Roy Kamphausen, David Lai, and Andrew Scobell, eds., The PLA at Home and Abroad: Assessing the Operational Capabilities of China’s Military (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College and National Bureau of Asian Research, July 2010).