South Sea Fleet v Seventh Fleet

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands on May 21, 2015.
Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands on May 21, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

China's South Sea Fleet, which deploys in the South China Sea, was the largest of the country's three fleets with 116 vessels, according to a Pentagon study published in April.

It said China also had more than 200 coastguard ships over 500 tonnes, including many above 1,000 tonnes. China's coastguard fleet alone dwarves those of Asian rivals combined.

The US Seventh Fleet by comparison operates 55 vessels, including the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group, from its base in Yokosuka, Japan, where it covers the Western Pacific and much of the Indian Ocean.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'South Sea Fleet v Seventh Fleet'. Print Edition | Subscribe