A Chinese navy fleet comprising a frigate, destroyer and a supply ship was on Saturday dispatched to the Gulf of Aden on an escort mission, Xinhua reported.
The ships left the Zhanjiang port in southern China's Guangdong province Saturday, the transport ministry said.
The fleet will replace a flotilla sent earlier to guard against pirates, the ministry said on its website.
The fleet, equipped with two helicopters, is carrying about 870 seamen and officers onboard.
The destroyer Wuhan and frigate Yulin will arrive in the waters off Somalia after they participate in an international defence expo in Brunei.