“Japanese, Malaysian coast guards hold South China Sea security drill” –Indo-Pacific Defense Forum

This photo released by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency shows the Japan Coast Guard ship Tsugaru (PLH02) and helicopters of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency during a joint exercise between the both agencies off Kuantan, Malaysia, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency via AP)

Indo-Pacific Defense Forum reports on efforts by the Japan Coast Guard to assist the Malaysia Coast Guard, including, in this case, with Long Range Acoustic Devices that are being provided by Japan.

The Malaysia Coast Guard is a relatively young organization, having become operational in 2005. Two of the largest vessels in the Malaysia CG have been provided by Japan.

Japan has been helping to strengthen other coast guards in SE Asia as well, including those of Vietnam and the Philippines

“China Will Use Antarctica For Its Ocean Monitoring Satellites” –gCaptain

gCaptain reports that China is setting up a satellite ground station at their Zhongshan research base in the Larsemann Hills by Prydz Bay (at about the 2:30 position (76°22′18″E) on the chart above). It is directly south of India. From Wikipedia,

“The bedrock of the Larsemann Hills contains an unusually high abundance of boron and phosphate minerals and is the location of discovery of four new species of mineral. In 2014, the Stornes Peninsula within the Larsemann Hills was declared an Antarctic Specially Protected Area due to its mineral diversity.”

The station is within a sector of Antarctica claimed by Australia. All claims are currently held in abeyance in accordance with the Antarctic Treaty System.

There is concern that the satellite monitoring technology will be dual use (civilian and military).

The station is relatively small now, reportedly with a population of 60 in the summer and 17 during the winter. Sounds like it will be growing.

“As Ice Recedes, Italian Ship Makes Record Journey into the Antarctic” –gCaptain

Italian Icebreaking Research ship Laura Bassi, the former RRS Ernest Shackleton. Photo credit Brian Burnell 

gCaptain reports,

“ROME, Jan 31 (Reuters) – An Italian ice-breaker carrying scientists researching in the Antarctic has sailed further south than any ship has done before, the organizers of the voyage said on Tuesday, a further sign of how ice is retreating around the poles.”

The Laura Bassi, the ship that did this most southerly voyage would be classified, by the Coast Guard. as a light icebreaker. It is only 80 meters (262 feet) in length and 5,455 tons full load. Its total generator capacity is only 5100KW or 6839HP, little more than half that of the old Wind class icebreakers (12,000 HP) built during WWII.

Clearly, things are changing in Antarctica.

USCGC Emlen Tunnell Seizes Illegal Drugs In Gulf Of Oman

230130-N-NO146-1001 GULF OF OMAN (Jan. 30, 2023) Illicit drugs interdicted by USCGC Emlen Tunnell (WPC 1145) sit on the deck of a fishing vessel for inventory as the U.S. Coast Guard cutter sails in the Gulf of Oman, Jan. 30. (U.S. Coast Guard photo) (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard)

Below is a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command news release. More information on Combined Maritime Forces, Task Force 150, Coast Guard PATFORSWA interdiction efforts, and why I think it is a great model for other areas here.

U.S., International Forces Seize Illegal Drugs in Gulf of Oman, By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs | January 31, 2023

MANAMA, Bahrain —

A U.S. Coast Guard vessel seized illegal drugs worth a total estimated U.S. street value of $33 million from a fishing vessel transiting international waters in the Gulf of Oman, Jan. 30.

U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Emlen Tunnell (WPC 1145) was patrolling regional waters in support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 when it seized 4,000 kilograms of hashish and 512 kilograms of methamphetamine from the smuggling vessel.

Currently led by the United Kingdom Royal Navy, CTF 150 is one of four task forces organized under the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). This was the first drug seizure in 2023 for CMF.

“This is just the beginning of our work in delivering maritime security operations in the region to stop illicit activities and drug smuggling,” said UK Royal Navy Capt. James Byron, the CTF 150 commander. “This comes as a result of a valued partnership between CTF 150 and all partner nations in Combined Maritime Forces.”

Byron assumed command of the multinational task force Jan. 18 after Royal Saudi Navy Rear Adm. Abdullah Al-Mutairi led the unit for six months.

Under Al-Mutairi’s leadership, CTF 150 ships logged more than 10,000 hours on regional patrols and intercepted six shipments of illegal drugs that included opium, heroin, hashish and amphetamines. The combined estimated value of the seized drugs totaled more than $250 million.

Since 2021, CMF has interdicted $1 billion worth of illicit narcotics during maritime patrols. CMF is the largest international naval partnership in the world consisting of 38 member-nations and partners.

“Coast Guard and Navy commands formalize support for Research and Development Center autonomous vessels” –CG-9

Passing along this from the Acquisitons Directorate (CG-9):

Coast Guard and Navy commands formalize support for Research and Development Center autonomous vessels

Signing of a memorandum

Capt. Daniel Keane, commanding officer, Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC); hosted (from left) Capt. Kenneth M. Curtin Jr., commanding officer, Naval Submarine Base New London; Cmdr. David Sigler, officer in charge, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron Eight Detachment Groton; and Cmdr. Drew Nilsson, commanding officer, Naval Reserve Center New London, Jan. 18, 2023, at RDC to formalize support for the RDC’s experimental autonomous vessels through signing of a memorandum of understanding. U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Maxwell Higgins.

The Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with several U.S. Navy commands based in Southeastern Connecticut Jan. 18 to formalize support for experimental autonomous vessels operated by the RDC.

The MOU solidifies the cooperation among the commands to provide for the temporary storage and maintenance of RDC’s three optionally manned/unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) at the Naval Submarine Base. The USVs are the leading edge of the RDC’s autonomy research and encompass experimentation in areas from vessel control systems to new sensors, navigation systems and state-of-the-art communications capabilities. They are employed in joint Department of Homeland Security/Department of Defense research and in partnerships with the private sector.

Capt. Daniel Keane, RDC commanding officer, hosted Capt. Kenneth M. Curtin Jr., commanding officer, Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE); Cmdr. Drew Nilsson, commanding officer, Navy Reserve Center New London; and Cmdr. David Sigler, officer in charge, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) Eight Detachment Groton, in the signing of the MOU. Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and Navy Reserve Expeditionary Maintenance Detachment New London are also parties to the MOU.

Keane called the MOU a “force multiplier.”

“This is a great opportunity for our commands to work together to share knowledge, resources and talent to further understanding of autonomous vessel operations, support and logistics,” Keane said.

The MOU also fills a vital need.

“The RDC does not have the organic capabilities to fully manage the maintenance and repair aspect of this boat program,” said Lt. Dean Gilbert, the RDC’s lead for vessel maintenance with the Navy. “Partnering with the Navy fills critical gaps in the program, helps in the training of reserve sailor technicians and ensures work is being done in facilities compliant with all Coast Guard, Navy and state requirements.”

For the sailors from SUBASE Port Operations, the MSRON and the Reserve Expeditionary Maintenance Detachment, the support opportunity has multiple benefits.

“This cooperative effort not only provides our Navy sailors with valuable training opportunities to sharpen their skills and maintain mission readiness across several platforms, but also to work with fellow sea service professionals in the Coast Guard,” Nilsson said.

“Additionally, it exposes them to experimental, cutting-edge systems and technologies that may be the standard in the future,” Sigler said.

Local Navy and Coast Guard leaders recognized such beneficial outcomes from the start.

“The signing of an MOU with these Navy commands, all in collaboration and focused on autonomy, is an operationalization of the tri-services strategy,” said Dr. Joe DiRenzo, the RDC’s director of research partnerships, referring to the joint Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard focus on modernization, mission efficacy and leveraging each service’s complementary capabilities towards the nation’s strategic priorities.

The MOU exemplifies a forging of the Coast Guard commandant’s tenet to “Sharpen our Competitive Edge” with the chief of naval operations’ initiative to “Get Real, Get Better,” highlighted Curtin.

“The Coast Guard and the Navy in Southeastern Connecticut have a long history of cooperation and support,” Curtin said. “This joint collaboration reflects the execution of senior service strategies at the deck-plate level. Our local Navy and Coast Guard are demonstrating our commitment to constant improvement, maximizing resources, and training, learning and adapting as a collective team to meet current and future challenges. It’s a win for us all.”

With the MOU signed, RDC autonomous vessel storage at SUBASE is anticipated by the end of January, with maintenance efforts to begin soon after.

For more information: Research, Development, Test & Evaluation and Innovation Program page and Research and Development Center page

“Expanding partnerships: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stone arrives in Port of Suape, Brazil” –LANTAREA

Coast Guard’s ninth national security cutter (NSC), USCGC Stone, October 2020. Photo by Lance Davis of Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Below is an Atlantic Area News Release. Looks like USCGC Stone is taking the counter IUU road show to the South Atlantic Coast of South America a second time. The first time she did this was before she had even been commissioned and after a long quarantine for COVID. The press release reporting the conclusion of their Previous South American voyage is here.

More info about their previous South American adventure:

Suape is part of the Recife metropolitan area. Recife is located on the most Eastern part of South America where it projects toward Africa. During WWII Brazil was an allied nation, declaring war on the Axis 22 August 1942. US Navy ships and aircraft based in Recife and nearby Natal patrolled this narrowest part of the Atlantic to intercept Axis blockade runners.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area

Expanding partnerships: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stone arrives in Port of Suape, Brazil

USCGC Stone arrves in Suape, Brazil  USCGC Stone partners with Brazliian Navy

Editors’ Note: To view more or download high-resolution photos, click on the images above.

SUAPE, Brazil – The USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) arrived in the Port of Suape, Pernambuco, Brazil for a scheduled port visit Monday.

This port visit marks the first stop for Stone on its scheduled multi-mission deployment in the South Atlantic to counter illicit maritime activities and strengthen relationships for maritime sovereignty throughout the region. This visit also highlights the partnership between U.S. and Brazil to counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

“All nations benefit from free and open access to the maritime domain,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Clinton Carlson, Stone’s commanding officer. “It’s a real privilege to work with Brazil’s maritime forces as we increase our interoperability and work together to uphold the rules-based international order at sea.”

Stone last deployed to the South Atlantic from December of 2020 to February of 2021. During the deployment, Stone operationalized the U.S. Coast Guard’s Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Strategic Outlook, published in September of 2020.

“Our current deployment seeks to deepen our interagency and international partnerships,” said Carlson. “We have embarked personnel augments from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps as well as representatives from the Brazilian Navy to enhance our capabilities. In leveraging our connections at home and abroad, we provide a flexible, mobile and integrated team capable of enforcing international laws, ensuring regional security and safeguarding free and open access to the sea for all law-abiding nations.”

The United States and Brazil enjoy active, cooperative relations encompassing a broad span of internationally shared political and economic concerns. Ten bilateral agreements signed in March 2011 and five more signed in April 2012 codified the nations’ shared commitment to maritime security and environmental stewardship in the Atlantic Ocean. Both countries participate in the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, which studies and manages highly migratory fish species and can facilitate the enforcement of conservation and management measures regarding fish covered by the commission.

Stone is the ninth Legend-class national security cutter in the Coast Guard fleet and currently homeports in Charleston, South Carolina. The national security cutters can execute the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders.

Stone is under the command of U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. Based in Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area oversees all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf. In addition to surge operations, they also allocate ships to work with partner commands and deploy to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific to combat transnational organized crime and illicit maritime activity.

For information on how to join the U.S. Coast Guard, visit GoCoastGuard.com to learn about active duty and reserve, officer and enlisted opportunities. Information on how to apply to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy can be found here.


The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of Center for Strategic and International Studies provides a report showing the extent of China Coast Guard patrols of five features of the South China Sea, Second Thomas Shoal, Luconia Shoals, Scarborough Shoal, Vanguard Bank, and Thitu Island, in 2022 and comparing that to 2020. (There was no explanation for why no information regarding 2021 was included.)

The report also indicated that China Coast Guard is using automatic identification system (AIS) in a deceptive manner.

Thanks to Paul for bringing this to my attention.

“US Coast Guard and Space Force Partner on R&D” –Marine Link

The Coast Guard Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation Program, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, launched two 6U CubeSats from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, as part of the Polar Scout project. Photo courtesy of SpaceX.

Marine Link reports,

“A memorandum of understanding (MOU) inked by the U.S. Space Force Science, Technology, and Research Directorate and U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center on January 19 will expand Space Force access to USCG Research and Development Center facilities, infrastructure and personnel.”