China commissioned its first semi-submersible logistics ship for the People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN) in a July 10 ceremony at the PLAN’s Zhanjiang Naval Base in Guangdong Province.
Chinese state television reported that the ship, named the Donghaidao (868), has been assigned to the PLAN’s South Sea Fleet. The ship is similar in layout to the U.S. Military Sealift Command Mobile Landing Platform (MLP), although the Donghaidao is significantly smaller. The Chinese media listed the ship as measuring 576 feet long with a beam of 106 feet, compared to a 785-foot length and 164-foot beam for the MLP. PLAN’s version of the ship has a fully loaded displacement of 20,000 tons, compared to 78,000 tons for the American ship.
One wonders if they’ll also build a variant similar to the Afloat Forward Staging Base variant of the MLP.