At 8:00 am on July 2, Marine Surveillance Nos. 83, 84, 66 and 71 set out from anchorage to the northeast of Yongshu reef after a short rest. At 8:30 am, marine formation drill began.
At first, the ships sailed in a single-line formation. China Marine Surveillance No. 83, the flag ship of the fleet under Captain Wang Yu, took the lead and was followed by Nos. 84, 66 and 71. Then the single line formation was turned into a parallel formation and then a square formation. In the end, they resumed the single-line formation.
“No. 84 sailed satisfactorily at a steady speed of 8 knots. It was followed by Nos. 66 and 71. Both of them paid attention to maintaining the distance between ships and tracking the basic route of travel.” Li Yongbo, leader of the Eighth China Marine Surveillance Sub-team and commander of this patrol, tested the telecommunications between the participating ships while directing the changes in the formation.
The drill was carried out smoothly for 2 hours, but due to the weather, Chinese Marine Surveillance Helicopter No. 7112 could not take part in the drill though it had made satisfactory preparations for flight since early morning.
This regular Chinese marine surveillance patrol to maintain sovereignty started from Sanya on June 26 and had covered more than 1,800 nautical miles. On July 1, the fleet exchanged greetings with Chinese garrisons on Huayang and Yongshu Reefs. In the evening, it anchored at the anchorage to the northeast of Yongshu Reef.
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