USS Blue Ridge Strengthens Bonds with PLAN
U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Zhanjiang April 20 for a port visit building relationships and reinforcing positive navy-to-navy exchanges with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA(N)) South Sea Fleet.
As Blue Ridge moored pierside, members of PLA(N) greeted the ship.
The Port of Zhanjiang is one of the largest deep water ports in China and it serves as the headquarters for the PLA(N)’s South Sea Fleet. It is the southernmost port on the coast of mainland China and also serves as a shipping outlet for much of Southwest China.
While in Zhanjiang, Blue Ridge crew members, embarked U.S. 7th Fleet staff, the “Golden Falcons” of Helicopter Squadron 12 and Marines from Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific will welcome PLA(N) members and guests aboard for guided tours, while Blue Ridge personnel will also get the opportunity to tour Chinese vessels. These exchanges provide an opportunity for both navies to understand and learn from one another.
Blue Ridge made a similar port visit to Qingdao, China, in 2014, fostering relationships with the PLA(N) North Sea Fleet, however the most recent U.S. naval vessel to visit Zhanjiang was the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) May 2013.
Image: US Navy