Other “Coast Guards'” New Ships and Early Disposals

Some news on fleet changes in the UK and New Zealand Navies with regard to their ships that do Coast Guard type work.

The Brits are building three new offshore patrol vessels. They will be built (before the first USCG Offshore Patrol Cutter) to essentially the same design as the three Offshore Patrol Vessels built for Trinidad and Tobago (video above) that I encouraged the Coast Guard to buy or lease four years ago when Trinidad and Tobago refused to pay for the ships they had contracted and BAE was looking for a buyer. Brazil subsequently purchased the vessels and the rights to the design. The remarkable thing about this decision is that the vessels are being built primarily to keep a ship yard busy and they will replace three River class offshore patrol vessels that were commissioned in 2003.


Photo Credit Benchill, Protector-class inshore patrol boat HMNZS Hawea (P3571) entering Otago Harbour, New Zealand

DefenseNews is reporting that New Zealand is considering disposing of two recently build Protector Class Inshore Patrol Vessels that entered service in only 2009 (similar to the Webber class FRCs) and building an additional much larger Offshore Patrol Vessel presumably a third Otago class.

What will happen to these five relatively new ships?

–Australia, in the middle of an alien migrant interdiction crisis, just had a fire on HMAS Bundaberg, a vessel very similar to the New Zealand Protector Class Inshore Patrol Vessels, that is likely to result in total loss. Perhaps they will take the excess New Zealand vessels, they were after all built in an Australian shipyard, but they really need something larger, perhaps the excess British River class.
–The Philippine Navy and Coast Guard also needs more modern patrol vessels to deal with Chinese incursions into their EEZ. The Philippine Coast Guard already has 56 meter vessels built in the same yard that made the New Zealand vessels but they could also use larger vessels like the Rivers.

11 thoughts on “Other “Coast Guards'” New Ships and Early Disposals

  1. Just for clarification, the reason Trinidad & Tobago refused to pay for the vessels was that the fire control system was defective and BAE Systems one of the world’s biggest arms companies was unable to get the ship to shoot straight. It thus defeated the purpose of T&T upgrading their fleet at great cost if the new fire control system was no better than the one (eyeball guided) they already had and not what was promised in the contract. Brazil has the industrial base to remedy such problems hence they were it turns out a better destination for the vessels.

  2. The sad thing about the River replacements is that we are seemingly tied to a BAE design when they are much better alternatives available for the same cost (thereabouts!) such as this thing of wonder,

    http://www.fassmer.de/shipbuilding/naval-vessels/offshore-patrol-vessels/80-m-offshore-patrol-vessel/

    Flightdeck, aft ramp for large RIB, clear fo’c’sle for a medium gun, and a hangar big enough for Wildcat. What’s not to like?

    Lord I hate BAE.

  3. Which isn’t to say I think the Rivers are poor ships. Far from it I think they are super. Why the first 3 came sans flight deck is a constant source of amazement to me as I often used to say when I commented over at Think Defence. One more would have been nice too.

      • They won’t because the RN hasn’t got enough bodies.

        The only solution perhaps would be to have them turned over to the RFA and have enforcement teams from interested government departments. The Scottish government have 3 fisheries protection vessels of their own so our numbers aren’t as low as they first appear. But beyond them being government vessels which could be pressed into service if other agencies needed it they are really just simple patrol craft.

        HMG believes a little too much in the European ideal and uses it as an excuse not to protect our resources. Look at our inshore assets. 5 350 ton boats and patch work of police launches; the latter don’t do general patrol work as you and I understand it in a coastguard / paramilitary sense. The UK has nowhere near the set-up the French or Italians have, especially the latter. Look at Germany, look at how many assets they have for roughly a fifth of the coast line. I suppose you could argue we are a remote island off the coast of the continent and not exactly in a high traffic area for small craft like the Mediterranean. But is that argument really true for the south east of the UK say from Portsmouth round to north Norfolk? No. (Never mind the Channel Islands too,) The Thames is a highway straight into London, its estuary a maze of good hiding places. Perhaps no attack from that avenue of approach is proof that our capital is safe, or perhaps not.

        Fantasy fleet time I would like to see the 5 cutter replaced with something able to take heavier seas like the RN’s old Peacock class. The Russians have a design of that size that can carry a small helicopter. And for the south east to have a small class of something small fast that can pursue and run down a target vessel; helicopters can only do so much. I would even look to having the latter partially RNR manned to cover weekends etc.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Federal_Coast_Guard

      • It is an unfortunate fact that in terms of personnel the USCG is now larger than the Royal Navy. What I see is that Britain only seems to think about its European waters while 88% of your EEZ is not in Europe and appears to be virtually un-patrolled (with the exception of one vessel in the South Atlantic and one in the Caribbean). Between the Scottish vessels, the River class, and the Customs vessels, and the boats in Gibraltar, European waters are reasonably well patrolled (if perhaps not protected) but outside of the Falklands the rest is largely overlooked. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EEZ#United_Kingdom

  4. @ Chuck

    The Falklands Island Government have one fisheries protection of their own in joint ownership / operator deal with a company based in Stanley,

    http://maritime-connector.com/ship/protegat-8712661/

    As does the government (!) of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Search down for Pharos Marine Limited on this page,

    http://www.byronfishing.com/partners.html

    Neither ship is a proper patrol ship.

    Since the end of WW2 the UK has basically become a continental power as in the style of Germany and France. Maintaining for so long a large army and a large air force have warped the UK’s priorities to the point that suggestions that a return to a more traditional outlook are often met with derision, scorn, and accusations of anachronistic and even sentimental thinking. Many don’t grasp that our lack of a large navy doesn’t mean that the UK isn’t dependent on seapower (in a military sense) because they don’t factor in the USN. Nor do they quite realise how much the US with its reach and power still relies on the sea for manoeuvre and supply in a campaign. Those are the times we live in here; we don’t need such and such a capability because the USN is available which is sometimes backed up with a balanced guestimate on the likelihood of the RN having to do anything on its own.

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