August 9, 2012 defense-aerospace.com
(Source: PLA Daily; published Aug. 9, 2012)
Launch of New Civilian Ship Helps PLA Enhance Strategic Projection Capability
The “Bohai emerald bead” passenger and roll-on/roll-off ship, which is the largest in scale and the longest in travelling distance in China to date, started its maiden voyage on the morning of August 8, 2012 at the Yantai Port of east China’s Shandong Province.
Different from ordinary ships, the 36,000-ton-water-displacement civilian passenger and roll-on/roll-off ship was in accordance with the national defense requirements in its design and construction so that it can project organic troop units and heavy equipment.
According to the briefing, the 178-meter-long and 28-meter-wide ship can carry 2,000-plus persons and be loaded with over 300 vehicles of various sizes one time.
The “Bohai emerald bead” is the first ship of its kind, and the three additional passenger and roll-on/roll-off ships with the same water displacement are now under construction, which all follow the national defense requirements.
According to Rong Xianwen, director of the Military Transportation Department under the Jinan Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the passenger and roll-on/roll-off ship is the most optimal ship type in maritime transportation of military troops as it possesses the advantages including large transportation quantity and high loading efficiency. It is not only the means of transportation, but also a temporary barrack. Such type of ship is often recruited in the military operations in western developed countries.
This is a new leap forward in enhancing PLA’s strategic projection capability by civilian ships,” said Zhang Wei, director of the Military Transportation Department under the PLA General Logistics Department, “It boasts an important significance in ensuring troop units to fulfill diversified missions.”