Bandar Seri Begawan - A training ship of China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) called the 'Zhenghe', which was named after a famous Chinese maritime explorer around 600 years ago - is scheduled to make berth at Brunei Darussalam for a visit.
The Chinese ship will be open to visits from the public between 10am and 12 Noon on September 13 at Muara Port.
According to a press statement released by the Chinese Embassy to Brunei Darussalam, the 'Zhenghe' is the first ocean-going training ship designed and built independently by China. It was launched from Qiuxin Ship Plant's shipyard in Shanghai on April 27, 1987. With the advent of this training ship, the PLA Naval Academies were no longer required to hire merchant ships for the purpose of ocean voyage training.
The 'Zhenghe' training ship is capable of travelling half the world in a single journey without the need for refuelling. Mounted with a satellite navigator, a global positioning system and other facilities, the ship can afford midshipmen to conduct training and practice for over 40 onboard personnel including navigators, observation and communication staff, mechanical and electrical engineers, weapons operators, and medical officers.
Over the past 25 years, the `Zhenghe' has successfully carried out over 200 missions that range from basic practice and training to military drills and visits to other nations - and has clocked over 280,000 nautical miles in the process, the equivalent to 10 laps of the Earth.
The 'Zhenghe' is at the top of the PLAN record list for the longest single-ship voyage, the highest service rate, and the highest frequency of outgoing visits - involving almost 30,000 midshipmen.
Among the commanding and technical officers currently in active service, one out of three has undergone maritime training on the 'Zhenghe' - making it a "mobile naval university at sea" according to the press statement.
Authorised by the Central Military Commission, the 'Zhenghe', commanded by the PLAN Deputy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Liao Shining, set sail from Dalian on April 16, 2012, as part of 'Harmonious Mission: Global Voyage of Zhenghe'.
The theme of this voyage is 'Explore Ocean, Promote Friendship', where the vessel intends to cross three oceans, nine straits and two canals while making visits to 11 ports - a voyage that will span some 33,000 nautical miles.
During the voyage, foreign midshipmen will be invited to participate in training exercises along with their Chinese counterparts.
During the vessel's visit to various ports, other activities will also take place such as the commanding officer making courtesy calls on local military leaders; visiting military facilities and institutions; participate in friendly exchanges; host open deck receptions; organise co-performances with naval bands; as well as host open days for members of the public at its respective destinations.
The voyage is the first time that the 'Zhenghe' will travel the entire globe with both Chinese and foreign midshipmen onboard.
The objective of the global voyage is to enhance mutual understanding, while trying to build trust and friendship with various nations in light of China's aggressive behaviour and actions in the South China Sea, which has led to rising tensions and an outpouring of anti-Beijing sentiment.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin