A Type 082B Wozang-class mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV), which was commissioned into the North Sea Fleet on 25 January 2016. Source: Chinese internet via cjdby.net

China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has commissioned a new Type 082B Wozang-class mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV). The ship was introduced into the North Sea Fleet on 25 January at the Dalian naval base, North East China.

Named Rongcheng (pennant number 811), the vessel is the fourth-in-class; the lead ship was commissioned in July 2005. The first two are thought to be operated by the East Sea Fleet, with the third being part of the South Sea Fleet.

The Type 082B displaces around 600 tonnes, has a length of 55 m, and a beam of 9.3 m. A hydraulic crane is installed aft to deploy a variety of towed or tethered bodies, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) which has some resemblance to the Italian Pluto system. Equipped with cameras for identifying mines, the vehicle has four thrusters for accurate manoeuvring and appears to have the capability to lay explosive charges to destroy mines on the sea bed.

TV footage also showed that, in addition to the new MCMV, three remotely operated unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) have been delivered. These are substantial craft, displacing around 100 tonnes with a length estimated to be about 25 m; they have been photographed operating from other Type 082B MCMVs.