Chuck Hill's CG Blog

Chuck Hill's CG Blog

“Chinese Warships Sailing Near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands Shadowed By U.S. Coast Guard” –Small Wars Journal

US Coast Guard Captain Tim Brown, USCGC Bertholf’s commanding officer, communicates with a Chinese warship near Alaska in August 2021.

Small Wars Journal has reported,

“The U.S. Coast Guard recently released a set of pictures of the Legend class cutter USCGC Bertholf shadowing a group of four Chinese warships sailing in America’s Exclusive Economic Zone near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands back in August. The emergence of these pictures follows the editor-in-chief of Global Times, a newspaper under the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party, taking to Twitter to criticize U.S. Navy operations in the Pacific that routinely challenge many of Beijing’s widely disputed maritime territorial claims, especially in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, and warn of tit-for-tat activities on the part of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.”

The PLAN task force apparently consist of a type 055 very large destroyer or cruiser,

a Type 052D destroyer,

a Type 903 replenishment ship,

160805-N-AI605-081 PEARL HARBOR (AUG 5, 2016) Chinese Navy replenishment ship Gaoyouhu (996) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the conclusion of Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rebecca Wolfbrandt/RELEASED)

and an intelligence-gathering ship with the hull number 799.

This is of course a bit unusual, but not something to be alarmed about. Given the current size and capability of the Chinese Navy (PLAN) we could expect them to transit within 20 miles of San Francisco or Los Angeles.

We recognize their right to do that.

But (there is always that but), having 176 vertical launch cells transiting a few miles away from major US cities does require a bit of mental adjustment, and it suggests maybe we are not as well prepared as we might be.

I almost hope they do it. The American public needs a wake-up call.

Think the Navy could sortie a couple of DDGs on short notice to shadow them?

7 thoughts on ““Chinese Warships Sailing Near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands Shadowed By U.S. Coast Guard” –Small Wars Journal

    • Actually there are a lot of Chinese owned companies that operate in Alaskan Waters already. Their fishing vessels and crews are American, but they frequently have a company rep on board.

      • On the “Tapatalk” blogsite there’s a commercial fisherman that plies the waters off the Alaskan coast and has spotted a few Fishing Boats with Chinese flags on them over the last few months. Some of which (i.e. the more daring of them) trying to bully their way into Alaskan Territorial Waters well within the Alaska EEZ. With at least one trying to take Crab Pots tagged by US Crabbers…

    • Yes, the Chinese seem to make good looking ships. The cruiser, destroyer, frigate distinction has been falling apart for some time. To me all these ships meet the original meaning of cruiser, a ship capable of prolonged independent operation, but not a ship of the line. I would suggest that destroyers are fully capable in three primary warfare areas, AAW, ASW, ASuW. Frigates are only fully capable in two, and corvettes are fully capable in only one. But there are all sorts of other explanations. Only the US and Russians have ships that they label as cruisers. Lots of nations have frigates that are as large as the destroyers of a few years ago. Because the labels stay with the ships for 30 years or so, they quickly become irrelevant.

      • The NATO/OSD designation for the Type 055 is a Cruiser, but the Chinese themselves just list it as a Destroyer. I suspect it’s more of a tier level classification of Destroyer. Somewhat like the 18th century Royal Navy of Gun Frigates from First, Second, Third through Sixth rates. A single classification type with multiple ratings. With 6th rate being the smallest and 1st rate being the largest. Without knowing if the Chinese plan to construct an even larger Destroyer type, I suspect the Type 055 is at the very least a 2nd Rate Destroyer…

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