A former Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Jiangwei I (Type 053 H2G)-class frigate acquired by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) arrived at the Sri Lankan port of Colombo on 8 July: a little over a month after the vessel was formally transferred to the service.
In a statement issued that same day the SLN said the refurbished 111.7 m-long and 12.4 m-wide vessel, which bears pennant number P 625, is scheduled to be commissioned "in the near future".
The ship, which has a full-load displacement of 2,286 tonnes and a crew of 110 (including 18 officers), first entered service with the PLAN in 1994 under the name Tongling (542).
It will be used for "patrol and surveillance missions in the deep seas around Sri Lanka", providing maritime security and assistance to search-and-rescue operations, according to the SLN.
The SLN had officially taken over the vessel on 5 June in a ceremony held at the Shanghai Zhonghua shipyard in China that was also attended by the Chief of Staff of the SLN, Rear Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenna.
The move came only a few weeks after China agreed to provide aid worth USD14 million to Sri Lanka to procure Chinese-made counter-insurgency equipment. The funding - pledged on 14 May during Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's visit to Beijing - is intended to boost the capability of Sri Lanka's security forces, the president's media division said.
China also agreed to provide Sri Lanka's police force with 150 vehicles. The donations were pledged less than a month after Sri Lanka endured a series of suicide bombings, which killed more than 250 people.
The funding pledge is the latest that China has offered Sri Lanka to support defence equipment purchases.
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