USS Blue Ridge Pulls into Zhanjiang, China for Port Visit The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) pulled into Zhanjiang in Southern China this morning for a relationship-building port visit, the Navy announced. The amphibious command ship docked at the headquarters for the Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) South Sea Fleet, which is also one of the countryâ€™s largest deep water ports and major shipping port, according to the Navy statement. Blue Ridge crew members, along with embarked 7th Fleet staff, Helicopter Squadron 12 and the Marines of the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific will give Chinese sailors guided tours of the ship and will visit Chinese ships during the visit. The sailors will also participate in friendly sporting events and community service activities. USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) transits the South China Sea on March 11, 2014. US Navy Photo Blue Ridge visited Qingdao in China last year for a similar relationship-building event with PLA(N)â€™s North Sea Fleet, which also included planning a search and rescue exercise. This comes as the relationship between the U.S. Navy and Chinese navy has included both positive and provocative moments. China participated in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) multinational exercise last July, but within weeks of the exercise ending a Chinese Shenyang J-11BH fighter buzzed a P-8A Poseidon off the coast of Hainan Island in the South China Sea. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert has spoken many times about the importance of having positive interactions between the navies â€“ both planned, like the port visits, or unplanned as ships pass one another â€“ so relationships are in place if a tense situation occurs. Both the United States and China agreed to the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in April 2014, and Greenert has said he would like to see the two navies develop protocol so that shipsâ€™ captains could take advantage of opportunities to interact â€“ when passing one another in a strait, for example â€“ rather than having to wait for approval. Greenert also spoke of increasing the number of port visits and academic exchanges between the navies, along with boosting communication between himself and his counterpart, Adm. Wu Shengli. And earlier USS Blue Ridge Concludes Hong Kong Visit HONG KONG -- The USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), flagship for the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, started Monday its port visit in Hong Kong after it has just finished a six-month maintenance period in Japan. "We have had fabulous visit, great time for the ship and wonderful time for the crew to recreate ourselves with Hong Kong, and the crew are excited to be here," said Captain Kyle Higgins, commanding officer of the ship. As one of the two Blue Ridge-class command ships of the U.S. Navy, the Blue Ridge plays a crucial role in providing command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) support to the commander and staff of the U.S. 7th Fleet. The 194-meter Blue Ridge, with a tonnage of over 19,000 tons, has been in service since 1970. The port call to Hong Kong is the first trip for the Blue Ridge this year, according to Captain Higgins. The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet has chosen Hong Kong as one of its main destination for port call, supply and communication with China since a long time before Hong Kong's return to China in 1997. The Blue Ridge's last visit to Hong Kong was in March 2014. According to the officers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison in Hong Kong, the Blue Ridge's officers paid a visit to the garrison after arrival, and the garrison's senior officers also attended the ship's deck reception held Monday evening.