“The Long Blue Line: Charleston—over 230 years of Coast Guard service and growth in South Carolina!” –MyCG

Coast Guard Base Charleston. The Base is moving from this location to the former Charleston Navy Base

MyCG has another in the Long Blue Line series, The Long Blue Line: Charleston—over 230 years of Coast Guard service and growth in South Carolina!

I have added it to my Heritage Page, but there was an interesting note in the next to last paragraph discussing the recent past and future of Base Charleston,

“In October 2015, the North Charleston cutter base was officially commissioned as Coast Guard Base Charleston with new National Security Cutters Hamilton and James replacing the old Gallatin and Dallas. The recently commissioned National Security Cutter Stone has joined its two sister cutters and future plans see the facility becoming a “super base” supporting two more NSCs, as well as units of the new medium-endurance class of Offshore Patrol Cutters and, possibly, one or two new Polar Security Cutters.” (Emphasis applied–Chuck)

We have begun to see indications of an intent to base icebreakers on the Atlantic side, but I had assumed these would be the Medium Icebreakers (Arctic Security Cutters). This may reflect an anticipation the Coast Guard will have more than three Polar Security Cutters.

When you realize that, in relationship to the Eastern Pacific Drug Transit Zone, Charleston is about 1,000 nautical miles closer than San Diego and about 1,400 nautical miles closer than Alameda, you can understand why the Coast Guard decided to base five Bertholf class NSCs there. Its why 4th Fleet, which is responsible for all of South America is an Atlantic Fleet Command.  Add to that the lower cost of living and it makes a lot of sense.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James arrives at its new homeport of Charleston, S.C. Aug. 28, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake)

26/11

Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Mumbai Terrorist Attack,

In the US the date 9/11 has special meaning, but in India it is November 26, which they refer to as 26/11.

The 2008 Mumbai attacks (also referred to as 26/11) were a series of terrorist attacks that took place in November 2008, when 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist terrorist organisation from Pakistan, carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday 26 November and lasted until Saturday 29 November 2008. A total of 175 people died, including nine attackers, and more than 300 were wounded.

Nearly all the killing and all the television coverage was on land, but it should not be forgotten, the terror came by boat.

“Danish Navy Frigate Kills 4 Pirates in Gulf of Guinea Anti-Piracy Mission” –USNI

Gulf of Guinea, from Wikipedia

The US Naval Institute reports an incident off the West African Coast in which a Danish Frigate, the HDMS Esbern Snare (F342), while engaged in a counter piracy operation, observed a suspicious vessel and attempted to investigate. This led an exchange of gunfire.

“By the evening, Esbern Snare was close enough to launch rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) carrying Danish naval special forces personnel and called on the boat to halt and permit boarding, the news release said. When the boat refused to respond to the call, warning shots were fired, with the pirates responding by firing directly at the personnel in the RHIBs. A brief firefight then ensued, in which no Danish personnel were hit but five pirates were shot, with four of them killed and one wounded.”

The USCG cutter operate in this area periodically, doing “capacity building.” Its not impossible a cutter will find itself in a similar situation.

The imbalance of the results of the firefight, 5-0, which probably would have looked fairly even on paper, speaks volumes for the equipping and training of the Danish boat crew and boarding party.

“Ohio River Bomb Spree Shows Need For New Coast Guard Waterways Commerce Cutters” –Forbes

USCGC Smilax (WLIC-315)

Craig Hooper has another pro-Coast Guard post in Forbes.

It talks about a domestic terrorism incident as a justification for the Waterways Commerce Cutter program.

The program already seems to be progressing well with essentially no opposition.

The article goes a bit beyond advocating for the program as it exists now.

“—the emerging threat of domestic terrorism suggests that these vessels may need to enhance their disaster response capabilities faster than the Coast Guard expects. Better communications, better situational awareness resources and better resources to keep crew safe may be quite useful over the three or four decades. Fittings for chemical sensors, extra protective gear storage, unmanned platform capabilities, and better decontamination resources all ensure these Cutters will be viable over the long-term.”

Take a look. I am not enthusiastic about Hooper’s suggested upgrades, but I have a lot of respect for his opinion, so would not dismiss them out of hand.

“WEB EXCLUSIVE: Q&A With Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard” –National Defense

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jetta Disco.

National Defense has an interview with the Commandant. There is a lot of discussion about COVID and how the Coast Guard has adapted to the reality of annual continuing resolutions (CR).

There is a good deal of discussion here about icebreakers. Polar Security Cutter construction is the program most effected by COVID and the first of class is now not expected until 2025. The Commandant actually wants more than six icebreakers, perhaps as many as nine, including some for the Atlantic side, more than three PSCs, and (for the first time I have heard this) we are also looking at something less than a medium icebreaker.

 “I’ve been having a conversation for most of my tenure that we really need a minimum of six icebreakers. Of that six, three will be Polar Security Cutters. We’ll have a hot production line, I hope that conversations is really about more than three Polar Security Cutters, but we’re also talking about maybe something a little less than a medium icebreaker. We’ve done some work at the behest of the last National Security Council in the Trump administration that has played forward for this administration. They seem very interested. So, I think we’re having the right conversations about a fleet of maybe six or nine that can work in the high latitudes both the High North and down in Antarctica.”

There was brief discussion of armament for the icebreakers. The Commandant noted that the PSC design included space, weight and power for upgrades (type unspecified), but no intention to make those upgrades now. There was no mention of Antarctica in that discussion.

There is a discussion about the Coast Guard in the Western Pacific in regard to both the Webber class FRCs and deployment of National Security Cutters to the far Western Pacific.

The interviewer seemed to be pushing the Commandant to acknowledge that the hardware elements of the Deepwater program were essentially complete. The Commandant’s response was more muted, noting that the Offshore Patrol Cutters are the “backbone” of the recapitalization and that program has essentially only just begun.

There was only one question that mentioned unmanned systems and the Commandant’s response made no mention of them. There was also no discussion of replacement of the H-65s with H-60s.

“Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton offloads approximately $504 million in cocaine, marijuana at Port Everglades” –D7

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s (WMSL 753) crew conduct small boat operations with HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 14, 2021. Harry DeWolf is the Royal Canadian Navy’s newest Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, while on her maiden voyage, circumnavigating North America. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Below is a news release from D7. It may seem routine, but this does mark something of a debut for an asset new to drug interdiction operations, Canada’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships.  They are much larger and more capable than the Kingston class coastal defense ships Canada has previously used in support of our drug interdiction efforts. HMCS Harry DeWolf is making a circumnavigation of North America.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Southeast

Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton offloads approximately $504 million in cocaine, marijuana at Port Everglades

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s (WMSL 753) crew conduct small boat operations with HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 14, 2021. Harry DeWolf is the Royal Canadian Navy’s newest Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, while on her maiden voyage, circumnavigating North America. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s (WMSL 753) small boat crews interdict a Low-Profile Vessel (LPV) while on patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Oct. 23, 2021. The Hamilton is homeported in Charleston, South Carolina. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton (WMSL 753) on scene with a Low-Profile Vessel (LPV) in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 15, 2021. The Hamilton is homeported in Charleston, South Carolina. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s (WMSL 753) crewmembers conduct Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) training with a Coast Guard Air Station Jacksonville MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from the Helicopter Interdiction Squadron (HITRON) while on patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Nov. 15, 2021. The Hamilton is homeported in Charleston, South Carolina. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s (WMSL 753) crew wraps bails at Port Everglades, Florida, Nov. 22, 2021. The Hamilton is homeported in Charleston, South Carolina. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez)A pallet of seized contraband is hoisted during a drug offload from the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton (WMSL 753) in Port Everglades, Florida, Nov. 22, 2021. The drugs were interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, including contraband seized and recovered during 8 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels by 3 American and Canadian ships. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez)A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer waiting for a pallet wrapped with bails to be forklifted at Port Everglades, Florida, Nov. 22, 2021. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, allow for a unity of effort to disrupt transnational crime organizations, which threaten America and our partners. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez)The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s (WMSL 753) crew poses with approximately 26,250 pounds of cocaine and 3,700 pounds of marijuana at Port Everglades, Florida, Nov. 22, 2021. The largest drug interdiction in the ship’s history. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez)

Editor’s Note: Click on images to download high-resolution version.

MIAMI— Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s crew offloaded approximately 26,250 pounds of cocaine and 3,700 pounds of marijuana worth approximately $504 million, Monday, at Port Everglades, which is the largest drug interdiction in the ship’s history.

The Coast Guard’s strong international relationships, with key partners like Canada along with our specialized capabilities and unmatched authorities, allow for a unity of effort to disrupt transnational crime organizations, which threaten America and our partner nations.

The drugs were interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, including contraband seized and recovered during eight interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels by three American and Canadian ships:

“I could not be prouder of this crew and their determination to keeping more than 26,000 pounds of cocaine from reaching the shores of Central and North America,” said Capt. Matthew Brown, commanding officer Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton. “It has been a dynamic two and half months for this ship with some very difficult law enforcement cases. But at the core of these capabilities is a true culture of trust and respect for each other which enabled the safe apprehension of 14 suspected traffickers. Each one of our cases represented the teamwork and partnerships not only domestically but with our partners in the Western Hemisphere.” 

Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations. 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 by U.S. Attorneys in districts across the nation.

During at-sea interdictions, a suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District, headquartered in Alameda, California. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District, headquartered in Alameda, California, and the law enforcement phase of operations in the Caribbean is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 7th District, headquartered in Miami. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton is a 418-foot national security cutter homeported in Charleston, South Carolina. The Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Florida. Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf is a 340-foot Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) home ported in Halifax, Canada.

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“U.S. patrol boats sent to beef up Ukrainian Navy near Black Sea” –Reuters

U.S. flagged general cargo ship Ocean Grand, carrying two former U.S. Coast Guard cutters, sails in the Dardanelles, on its way to the Black Sea, in Canakkale,Turkey November 20, 2021. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik

Reuters report.

Serious concern Russia may be preparing to attack Ukraine. The Ukrainians are apparently planning some upgrades, but it is definitely a David and Goliath situation.