World’s Largest Offshore Patrol Vessels

File:JapanCoastGuard Shikishima.jpg

Photo from Japanese Wikipedia; ja:ファイル:JapanCoastGuard Shikishima.jpg

More than two decades after the first of class was delivered the Japanese Coast Guard has taken delivery of the second ship of the Shikishima ClassAkitsushima (PLH 32), These are the largest offshore Patrol Vessels in the world.

These ships have some notable features.

As Coast Guard cutters go they are very large. At 9,300 tons full load, they twice the displacement of the National Security Cutters. The vessels have a length of 150m (492 ft), beam of 17m (56 ft), and draft of 10m (33 ft). They can accommodate two relatively large Eurocopter EC225 helicopters (Max Gross weight: 11,000 kg (24,251 lb)). They are the only Japanese Coast Guard vessels with anti-aircraft weapons. Their outfit includes two 35mm mounts on the centerline with one mount well forward and a second on top of the hangar, the older Shikishima uses twin mounts and the newly built Akistsushima uses single mounts. There are also two 20 mm Sea Vulcan Gatling guns mounted port and starboard forward of and below the bridge.

They look more like merchant ships than warships, but they are good for 25 knots, and their range of 20,000 miles allows them to transit between Japan and Europe unrefueled. They also have a relatively large number of davits. It appears they have six, two of which are used for lifeboats.

4 thoughts on “World’s Largest Offshore Patrol Vessels

  1. Those ships are very impressive indeed, I remember looking at those a couple months back. Japanese Coast Guard has some impressive stuff, might start needing it with China’s encroachment.

    • Having read some Chinese statements, it looks like they compare their Coast Guard most frequently to Japan’s, rather than the USCG. Japan Coast Guard has more large ships than the USCG but far fewer aircraft even considering their smaller operating area.

      South Korea also has a large number of good sized coast guard cutters.

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