By Yu Runze, Sina English
China's first aircraft carrier, currently named Varyag, had the side number "16" painted on both sides at a harbor in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, on September 2.
Side number is the code number of warships, and also serves as a name open to the public. It is always painted on either side of the front section of the boat/vessel for clear legibility.
The emergence of the carrier’s side number also spurs speculation that the aircraft carriers is ready to be delivered to Chinese Navy.
According to the standard practice for naval vessels in service, when the side number is painted, it means that the vessel has finished basic experiment and is ready to be in service, some relevant personage said.
"Different from the traditional black, Varyag’s side number '16' is pianted white." said a military fan who claimed to have seen the carrier.
As to the font of "16", it is in three dimensional appearance, and has already been used at East China Sea Fleet. The appearance is also known to be used by the United States and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries.