“Ministers Seek to Combat Organized Crime in Global Fisheries” –gCaptain

gCaptain reports,

Government ministers and delegates attended a conference by the Blue Justice Initiative, backed by 60 coastal states as of Thursday, including Brazil, South Africa, Norway and Indonesia, to jointly eradicate transnational crime in global fisheries.

The report gives a good overview of the size and difficulties of this problem that the Coast Guard is attempting to address not just in the US but globally.

As Seen On Star Trek, Coast Guard to Get Universal Translator

Well, maybe not quite, but MyCG reports,

The customized translator is expected to be roughly the size of a standard phone and provide instant translations for 16 different languages. The initial prototypes – developed by myLanguage and Kynamics – are at different stages of completion. Coast Guard officials expect some devices could be available for testing on cutters as early as third quarter fiscal year 2023.

Coast Guard in the Iraq War

USCGC Adak Persian Gulf

MyCG has two posts about the Iraq war and the Coast Guard’s part in it.

Thought it odd we would have two so closely related posts, by the same author. Actually, the first was done some time ago but internet access was lost when the Coast Guard changed servers.

Both are now linked on my Heritage page.

“How Big is Big?”

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Photo

gCaptain reports,

Chinese Shipyard Delivers ‘World’s Largest Containership’ at 24,346 TEUs… 399.99 meters in length…61.3 meters in beam…”

So, if you put a Reliance class WMEC 210 on deck cross wise, it would only overhang about 9.4 feet. It is more than six times the length of a 210. You could put six 210s side by side across the beam of the ship. It would take almost 36 WMEC210s just cover the deck.

Think the Coast Guard could forcibly stop one of these? Just food for thought.

“Austal USA Taps Fairbanks Morse Defense to Equip OPC WMSM-919” –Marine Link

Future USCGC Pickering (Image: Austal USA)

Marine Link reports,

Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD)…which has been expanding its offering as single-source maritime defense contractor, said its cross-company package for WMSM-919 includes two main propulsion diesel engines through Fairbanks Morse Defense, a hangar door and stores elevator through Federal Equipment Company (FEC), reverse osmosis system through Maxim Watermakers, two all-electric davits through Welin Lambie, and various electrical components (cable trays, light supports, piping supports, down commers, stuffing tubes, etc.) through Research, Tool & Die (RT&D).

Not unexpected, but good to see movement on the project, plus, it is a good excuse to publish the graphic.

Looking closely at the graphic, on the fantail, I see two buff-colored pieces that look like the lifting equipment. I am curious about what they are for?


“U.S. Coast Guard in Review” –USNI

The USCGC Mohawk (WMEC-913), here with the Ecuador Navy offshore patrol vessel Isla San Cristobal, was the first cutter to anchor and visit Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands.

The March issue of US Naval Institute Proceedings is the annual Naval Review Issue, and as always they have a recounting of Coast Guard activities. It may be behind the pay wall, but you really should be a member. It is worth a look if only as a reminder of how many irons we have in the fire.

“Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast returns home following counternarcotics patrol” / Mexican Navy Assistance

Below is a CG News article. What makes this remarkable is the degree of cooperation with the Mexican Navy. It refers to a Mexican Navy MPA (maritime patrol aircraft). There is no indication of type, but the Mexican Navy acquired EADS CN-235 (C-144 in USCG) for use as MPA. The sale was coordinated through USCG Foreign Military Sales (see notes on the link). 

March 16, 2023

Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast returns home following counternarcotics patrol

ASTORIA, Ore. — The Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC 623) and crew returned to their Astoria homeport, Tuesday, following a 69-day counternarcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Steadfast’s crew disrupted the flow of illegal narcotics on three separate occasions during their patrol preventing a combined total of more than 7,500 pounds of cocaine, valued at $85.6 million, from reaching the U.S. maritime borders.

The crew steamed more than 12,000 nautical miles conducting training, law enforcement missions, providing search-and-rescue coverage, and conducting helicopter operations while patrolling the waters from their Astoria homeport to international waters off the coast of Central America.

The Steadfast deployed with a Jacksonville, Florida, based Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and aircrew along with temporarily assigned crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane (WMEC 903) (getting a SLEP–Chuck), and soon-to-be-commissioned Coast Guard Cutter Argus (WMSM 915).

During nighttime patrol operations, Steadfast personnel were notified by a Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) of a suspected narcotics-smuggling vessel transiting international waters. Steadfast personnel launched an Over-the-Horizon (OTH) crew and boarding team who interdicted the vessel after a multi-hour pursuit. The suspected smugglers jettisoned contraband, resulting in the disruption of 2,260 pounds of cocaine, valued at $25.6 million.

Additionally, Steadfast’s crew tracked another suspected narcotics-smuggling vessel with the assistance of a Mexican Navy (SEMAR) surveillance aircraft and aircrew. Steadfast personnel launched an OTH boat crew and HITRON helicopter aircrew while the Mexican MPA tracked the vessel. Steadfast’s small boat and helicopter crews interdicted the suspected narcotics-smuggling vessel and seized 3,300 pounds of cocaine valued at $37.5 million.

“The successful coordination between a U.S. Coast Guard cutter and Mexican MPA was a significant step in advancing our strategic partnerships in combatting the flow of illicit narcotics in Eastern Pacific,” said Cmdr. Brock S. Eckel, Steadfast’s commanding officer.

The next day, Steadfast crew launched an OTH boat crew and HITRON aircrew to intercept another suspected smuggling vessel. The aircrew located the suspected smuggling vessel and worked with a nearby Mexican Naval vessel to vector in a Mexican Naval helicopter. This multi-national effort resulted in the seizure of 1,984 pounds of cocaine valued at $22.5 million.

“From battling heavy seas off the Oregon and California coasts, to overcoming equipment casualties, and multiple smuggling vessel interdictions in the darkest of nights, the determination, resilience, and professionalism of the Steadfast crew was simply exceptional,” said Eckel. “The crew’s operational success was matched only by the strengthening of international and inter-agency relationships along the way. Steadfast’s crew once again proved their proficiency in working with partner nations jointly executing the counternarcotics mission successfully.”

The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions for these interdictions by United States Attorney’s Offices throughout the country.

Commissioned in 1968, Steadfast is one of two 210-foot medium endurance cutters homeported in Astoria. The cutter and crew deploy along the western seaboard of North and Central America enforcing living marine resource laws and regulations, detecting and interdicting narcotics and migrant smuggling, and conducting search-and-rescue operations.

“U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star completes Operation Deep Freeze 2023 mission, departs Antarctica” –PACAREA

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10) visited Palmer Station, a United States research station on the Antarctic peninsula, March 3, 2023, after completing a successful deployment in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2023. This was the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star’s first visit to Palmer Station in 35 years. Operation Deep Freeze is one of many operations in the Indo-Pacific in which the U.S. military promotes security and stability across the region. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Aidan Cooney)

Below is a Pacific Area news release. You can also see it here. They do provide more photos. Note while Antarctic sea-ice is generally at a low level, at McMurdo it was unusually heavy.  

March 15, 2023

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star completes Operation Deep Freeze 2023 mission, departs Antarctica

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10) and crew departed the Antarctic region March 2, after 67 days below the Antarctic Circle in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2023.

The Polar Star and crew broke a 17-mile channel through fast ice and conducted over 1,600 hours of ice breaking operations to create a navigable route for cargo vessels to reach McMurdo Station. The Polar Star and crew executed more than 60 hours of ice escorts for cargo vessels through difficult pack ice conditions.

“Though sea ice around the Antarctic continent overall has been determined to be at one of the lowest in recent history, the sea ice in McMurdo Sound was observed to be at the highest concentration on record dating back to at least 2012,” said Lt. Cmdr. Don Rudnickas, the onboard ice analyst. “The pack ice conditions this year were difficult and made icebreaker support critical not only for establishing the fast ice channel, but for the close escort through pack ice of three of the four cargo vessels resupplying McMurdo Station.”

While operating in Antarctica, the Polar Star and crew made two logistical stops at McMurdo Station. After the first stop in McMurdo, the cutter and crew assisted in moving a 30,000-ton aging and degraded ice pier from Winter Quarters Bay to make way for a modular causeway system that was installed for the season. The cutter also provided an ice escort to motor vessel Ocean Giant and crew, who delivered the 65-ton MCS that was offloaded, assembled, and used as a pier to replace the traditional ice pier used for cargo operations.

“The Antarctic region is a harsh and challenging environment to operate in,” said Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Litts, operations officer. “Despite the inhospitable conditions, our crew adapted and tirelessly performed at the highest level to ensure mission success.”

Before departing the Antarctic Region, the cutter also visited Palmer Station, the United States’ research facility located on the Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Star personnel went ashore to meet with the station manager and staff, tour the facility, and shared camaraderie in one of the most remote regions on the planet. This was the first visit from a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker to Palmer Station since 1987.

“Ice breaking in Antarctica is a unique and dynamic mission requiring months of preparation and coordination among all our partners,” said Capt. Keith Ropella, commanding officer. “Mission success was a result of our crew working with fellow service members from the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy as a Joint Task Force to continue our proud support of the United States Antarctic Program.”

Operation Deep Freeze is the annual logistical support mission provided by the Department of Defense to the National Science Foundation (NSF) managed by the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). This includes coordination of strategic inter-theater airlift, tactical intra-theater airlift and airdrop, aeromedical evacuation support, search and rescue response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling, and transportation requirements supporting the NSF. This is a unique mission demonstrating U.S. commitment to the Antarctic Treaty and to research programs conducted for the betterment of all humanity. The Polar Star and crew contribute to this yearly effort through icebreaking to clear the channel for supply vessels.

The Polar Star is the United States’ only asset capable of providing access to both Polar Regions. It is a 399-foot heavy polar icebreaker commissioned in 1976, weighing 13,500 tons and is 84-feet wide with a 34-foot draft. The six diesel and three gas turbine engines produce up to 75,000 horsepower.

“Coast Guard Cutter Kimball returns home following Western Pacific patrol” –CG News

Following is from the Coast Guard News Page. Not only does this show the increasing cooperation between the US and Japan coast guards, it also explains how a Barbers Point H-65 made it to Guam. (“U.S. Coast Guard, Guam Fire Department conduct rescue hoist training in Guam” –Forces Micronesia / Sector Guam)

March 14, 2023

Coast Guard Cutter Kimball returns home following Western Pacific patrol

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756) and crew returned to their Honolulu homeport, Friday, following a 42-day, 10,000 nautical mile Western Pacific patrol.

Kimball was the first U.S. military ship in recent history to visit the port city of Kagoshima, Japan, where the crew partnered with servicemembers from Japan Coast Guard’s 10th District to plan and conduct combined operations and search-and-rescue exercises.

Kimball’s crew met with Japan Coast Guard senior leadership and hosted Japan Coast Guard servicemembers, U.S. Consulate Fukuoka staff, community leaders and local media aboard the cutter during the port visit in support of Operation SAPPHIRE.

Operation SAPPHIRE is a joint agreement between the U.S. and Japan Coast Guards signed in 2022 for enhancing cooperation between the two sea services. SAPPHIRE is an acronym for the ‘Solid Alliance for Peace and Prosperity with Humanity and Integrity on the Rule of law-based Engagement.’

“By collaborating with Japan Coast Guard members and conducting evolutions that enhanced communication and inter-operability during the patrol, the crew continued to strengthen a solid foundation for the positive and productive relationship with the maritime service of a like-minded nation,” said Captain Tom D’Arcy, Kimball’s commanding officer.

Kimball’s crew demonstrated proficiency in the ship’s aviation program by working with an air operations inspection team to conduct a biennial Shipboard-Aviation Standardization Inspection (AVSTAN). By achieving their AVSTAN certification, Kimball can continue deploying with aviation detachments during future patrols.

Kimball also supported U.S. Coast Guard efforts to increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific. Kimball’s crew delivered a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barber’s Point to Santa Rita, Guam, to enable forward operations that extend the service’s air coverage in the region.

During the patrol, the cutter’s engineering department was presented with the Rear Admiral R. S. Lucas Plaque Award for their outstanding contributions to the Coast Guard’s naval engineering program. Members from Kimball’s engineering department were cited for excellence and ingenuity during recent patrols and for completing three extensive industrial periods encompassing significant maintenance, contractual repair projects, and casualty repairs valued at over $4.4 million.

“I am extremely proud of our crew’s accomplishments,” said D’Arcy. “Kimball continues to remain on the front lines of the Coast Guard’s strategic plan. Our engagements in Japan strengthened our existing relationships with international partners who uphold good maritime governance. Kimball’s patrol re-affirmed the U.S. Coast Guard’s commitment to facilitating a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Commissioned in 2019, Kimball is the Coast Guard’s seventh national security cutter and one of two homeported in Honolulu. National security cutters are 418-feet-long, 54-feet-wide and have a displacement of 4,500 long-tons. With a range of 12,000 nautical miles, the advanced technologies of Legend-class national security cutters are designed to support the national objective to maintain the security of America’s maritime boundaries and provide long range search-and-rescue capabilities.

Sea Air Space 2023

Photo of a model of Halter Marine’s Polar Security Cutter seen at Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space 2021 Exhibition have surfaced. Photo credit Chris Cavas.

The Navy League’s annual maritime exposition, Sea-Air-Space 2023, is scheduled for April 3-5, 2023, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. National Harbor, Maryland.

The Coast Guard will be well represented. In addition to featured presentations by the Commandant, LANTAREA, and RAdm Jay C. Vann, Commander of CG Cyber Command, CG-9 has a list of 14 Coast Guard presentations (scroll down the linked page) scheduled for the Coast Guard booth, #107, with additional descriptions. Topics, presenters and times are:

Monday, April 3, 2023

  • USCG Risk Mitigation through Sustainable Aviation Fuel, Julie Berens, Energy Reliability technical warrant holder, Sam Alvord, chief, Office of Energy Management, 10:30-11 a.m.
  • Oil Spill Response – Tech Efforts on the Horizon, Kirsten Trego
    Deputy, Office of Marine Environmental Response Policy, 11-11:30 a.m.
  • Evaluating Search Effectiveness: Keeping Pace with Technology? Cmdr. Matthew J. Mitchell, Chief, Office of Search and Rescue 11:30 a.m.-noon
  • Interview with the USCG Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, Vice Adm. Paul F. Thomas, Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, 1:30-2 p.m.
  • Robotic Process Automation, Dr. David F. Wiesenhahn, Modeling and Simulation domain lead, Office of Research, Development, Test & Evaluation and Innovation, 2-2:30 p.m.
  • Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Capt. Eric M. Casper, Chief, Office of Specialized Capabilities, 2:30-3 p.m.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

  • Interview with the USCG Commander of the Atlantic Area, Vice Adm. Kevin E. Lunday, Commander, Atlantic Area and Defense Force East, 9:30-10 a.m.
  • Interview with the USCG Commander of the Pacific Area, Vice Adm. Andrew J. Tiongson, Commander, Pacific Area and Defense Force West, 10-10:30 a.m.
  • USCG: A Globally Deployed Cutter Fleet, Capt. John J. Driscoll, Chief, Office of Cutter Forces, 10:30-11 a.m.
  • Data & Artificial Intelligence at Scale in the USCG, Capt. Brian C. Erickson, Chief Data Officer, 11-11:30 a.m.
  • The Coast Guard and the Future of Maritime Domain Awareness, Capt. Thom C. Remmers, Unmanned Systems Cross-Functional Team Lead, Assistant, Commandant for Capabilities, 11:30 a.m.-noon
  • Recapitalization of C5I Onboard USCG Cutters, Capt. Vincent J. Skwarek, Assistant Program Executive Officer for C5I and Chief of C5I Acquisitions, 1:30-2 p.m.
  • Coast Guard Requirements, Capt. Brad E. Apitz, Chief, Office of Requirements and Analysis, 2-2:30 p.m.
  • How to Partner with the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, Dr. Joseph Direnzo III, Director of Research Partnerships/Public Affairs Officer,
    2:30-3 p.m.