We have seen the future, and it sucks.

China Militarizes Cruise Ship Design

31st January 2018

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In 2012 the Chinese naval ships operating off Somalia were seen accompanied by what appeared to be a cruise ship. It was actually the first of two “barracks ships” that the Chinese Navy has built since 2011. Both are 30,000 ton ships that appear to be based on cruise ship designswith lots of topside cabins with windows and large open decks for recreation. These two ships are indeed “barracks ships” but were designed to be quite flexible.

They were first seen in operation off Somalia and described as an example the Chinese Navy learning how important morale at sea was. Until 2008 Chinese warships rarely spent more than a week away from port but since then China has been sending “Naval Escort Task Forces” to participate in the anti-piracy patrol off Somalia. There, for four months (plus a month to get to and from China) the two warships (accompanied by a supply ship) look for pirates and escort merchant ships. On those long voyages Chinese officers soon noted that many months at sea put more strain on sailors than the usual shorter training voyages.

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