BEIJING, April 11 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese navy has earned plaudits from netizens for rescuing a foreign ship hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
"Well done Chinese navy! We should pay tribute to all navy men!" wrote a user of Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like service.
The convoy, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy, rescued a Tuvaluan ship hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden Sunday local time.
News of the rescue mission, posted by "Headline News," a Sina Weibo account, received over 1,000 comments in 24 hours and earned more than 4,000 "likes."
One Weibo user wrote, "It shows that China's development adheres to the principle of mutual benefit and win-win result, and the rise of China can benefit the world."
Others were praying for the safety of the sailors. One Weibo user wrote, "Please keep yourself safe, as your families are waiting for your return."
The navy said in a statement that its 25th convoy fleet, which was conducting an escort mission at the time, received report of the hijacked ship OS35 at around 5 p.m. Saturday.
The fleet's vessel Yulin set out for the area immediately.
After some reconnaissance and having contacted with the ship's crew, rescue operation started early Sunday morning.
A group of 16 members from the navy's special force boarded OS35, rescuing all 19 crew members and carrying out a thorough search of the ship to clear possible security threat.
Chinese fleets initiated an escort mission in 2008 in order to protect passing ships against pirate attacks, safeguard sea lane security and maintain freedom of navigation along waterways.
Because of China's joint efforts with some 20 international partners, the passage of goods through the Gulf of Aden is more secure.
"As China's military power grows, the ability to offer public security service for international society has also been enhanced," Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow of the Military and Academic Institute of the Chinese Navy, was quoted by the Global Times as saying. "A stronger Chinese army can better safeguard peace and stability of the world."
As of now, Chinese fleets have escorted more than 6,000 ships through this vital sea route and have successfully rescued or aided more than 60 Chinese and foreign ships.