“US Builds Global Coalition to Protect Gulf Shipping” –Global Security

USCG Monomoy (WPB-1326) and Adak (WPB-1333), elements of PATFORSWA

Global Security reports that the US is attempting to build a coalition to escort merchant ships through the Straits of Hormuz.

We would almost have to assume that the WPBs of PATFORSWA would be involved.

It would not be surprising to see the Coast Guard contribute up to six already commissioned Webber class WPCs in the near future. These could ultimately replace the current 110s stationed in Bahrain rather than waiting for FRCs specifically procured to replace the PATFORSWA WPBs, but for the duration of escort mission, they would augment them.

I would like to see some modifications done to these vessels before they go, but it is a question of urgency.

The Webber class could make the trip on their own bottoms if needed, especially if escorted by an National Security Cutter.

 

 

“Khulna delivers Bangladesh Coast Guard patrol boat trio, lays keels of two more” –Baird Maritime

CGS Sonar Bangla moments before being launched on May 23, 2018

Baird Maritime has reported that the Bangladesh Coast Guard has taken delivery of three new cutters.

These are based on the Bangladesh Navy’s Padma-class patrol vessels

They are similar in size to the Webber class Fast Response Cutters. Specs for the Bangladesh vessels are:

  • Displacement: 350 tons
  • Length: 165.35 ft (50.40 m)
  • Beam: 24.61 ft (7.50 m)
  • Draft: 13.45 ft (4.10 m)
  • Speed: 23 knots
  • Endurance: 7 days
  • Crew: 45

Armament for the Coast Guard versions of vessel is two Oerlikon 25mm, while that for the Navy version is two 37mm and two 20mm. They are also reported to be capable of minelaying.

Wikipedia indicates up to 23 of these indigenously produced craft are planned (presumably Navy and Coast Guard).

“What Is the US Coast Guard’s Role in the Indo-Pacific Strategy?” –The Diplomat

The Coast Guard Cutter Stratton passes underneath San Francisco’s Bay Bridge as Stratton and the crew depart on a months-long deployment to the Western Pacific in support of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, June 12, 2019. Operating under the tactical control of the U.S. 7th Fleet commander, Stratton and crew are scheduled to engage in professional exchanges and capacity-building exercises with partner nations in the Western Pacific and to patrol and operate as directed. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi.The Diplomat reports on rationale for the increasing presence of the US Coast Guard in the Western Pacific. The piece is written by a Philippine Coast Guard Officer and he credits the Japanese with developing the effective use of White Ships to provide influence in this region.

“MAST Asia: Mitsui Unveils OPV Design Proposal for JMSDF OPV Requirement” –Naval News

At MAST Asia 2019, the defense exhibition and conference currently held near Tokyo, Japan, local shipbuilder Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (Mitsui E&S) unveiled its OPV design currently competing for a JMSDF requirement.

Naval News reports on a proposal to meet Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force requirement for Offshore Patrol Vessels

This looks like a pretty typical modern Offshore Patrol Vessel if a bit larger and faster than most, with its medium caliber gun, two remote weapon stations for heavy machine guns and helo deck. In fact it looks very much like an improved L’Adroit with it 360 degree vision bridge, integrated mast, and two boats launched from stern ramps .

The real surprise is the crew of 23, one less than the crew of a Webber class. This might not be quite representative of how the Coast Guard would figure the crew size since there is a possibility the law enforcement officers of the boarding party and the aviation support personnel that are part of a USCG crew, may be handled as visiting detachments rather than as crew by the Japanese. Still the crew is going to be less than half of that of a 270.

Since the crew is a large part of the life cycle cost of a ship, there is a natural desire to cut the size of the crew. In operating a ship, frequently there is no reason the size of the ship should be reflected in the size of the crew, if the tasks the crew performs are the same. Still, 23 hardly provides a decent damage control party. Can they operate the helicopter and both boats simultaneously? Having junior personnel aboard in an apprentice role has much to recommend it. The experience of the Navy in attempting to man the LCSs with a minimum crew looks like a cautionary tale. I just hope they are including some provisions for adding personnel.

Stratton Goes To 7th Fleet, Waesche Goes South, All Four Alameda NSCs Underway

The Coast Guard Cutter Stratton passes underneath San Francisco’s Bay Bridge as Stratton and the crew depart on a months-long deployment to the Western Pacific in support of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, June 12, 2019. Operating under the tactical control of the U.S. 7th Fleet commander, Stratton and crew are scheduled to engage in professional exchanges and capacity-building exercises with partner nations in the Western Pacific and to patrol and operate as directed. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi.

The following is a PACAREA press release 

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Coast Guard Cutters Stratton and Waesche set sail Wednesday for months-long deployments to opposite ends of the Pacific. With their departure, all four of the national security cutters homeported in Alameda are currently on patrol.

The crew aboard the Waesche departed for a months-long deployment to the Eastern Pacific Ocean to conduct counterdrug operations. Earlier this year, Waesche returned to Alameda following a 95-day counterdrug patrol where the crew had two at-sea interdictions, seizing more than 6,300 pounds of cocaine.

Stratton deployed to the Western Pacific Ocean where the Alameda-based Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf has been since departing the Bay Area in January. Stratton will operate in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which oversees military operations in the Western Pacific.

Operating under the tactical control of U.S. 7th Fleet, Stratton is scheduled to engage in professional exchanges and capacity-building exercises with partner nations and to patrol and operate as directed.

“The Coast Guard’s deployment of resources to the Indo-Pacific directly supports the United States’ goal to strengthen maritime governance, safety, and security across the region, and we do that by working with, and learning from, our many partners and partner nations in the region,” said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, who oversees the cutter.

“The United States is a Pacific nation, and the Coast Guard has been operating in the pacific for over 150 years. We have developed long-standing partnerships with nations in the region, and we share a strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific governed by a rules-based international system that promotes peace, security, prosperity, and the sovereignty of all nations.”

As both a federal law enforcement agency and an armed force, the Coast Guard is uniquely positioned to conduct defense operations in support of combatant commanders on all seven continents. The service routinely provides forces in joint military operations worldwide, including the deployment of cutters, boats, aircraft and deployable specialized forces.

“We are a military service, we are also a law enforcement organization, a regulatory agency, a first response agency, and a member of the intelligence community,” said Fagan. “We are at all times a military force and at all times a law enforcement force. This duality of our authorities provides an incredible degree of flexibility and access and authority. The Coast Guard’s distinct authorities and missions means that we provide a mix of expertise and capabilities that no other U.S. agency can.”

Coast Guard Island in Alameda is the homeport to four Coast Guard legend class national security cutters. NSCs are 418-feet long, 54-feet wide, and have a 4,600 long-ton displacement. They have a top speed in excess of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, endurance of up to 90 days and can hold a crew of up to 170. These multi-mission cutters and crew are capable of operating from the Bering Sea to the Eastern Pacific Ocean to the South China Sea.

National security cutters feature advanced command and control capabilities, aviation support facilities, stern cutter boat launch and increased endurance for long-range patrols enabling the crews to disrupt threats to national security further offshore.

The Coast Guard is scheduled to commission its seventh and eighth national security cutters, the Coast Guard Cutters Kimball and Midgett, in August. Both cutters will be homeported in Honolulu and enhance the Coast Guard’s presence throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

“U.S., Philippine Coast Guards Conduct Joint Search-and-Rescue Exercise” –Seapower

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (left) moves in formation with Philippine coast guard vessels Batangas (center) and Kalanggaman during an exercise on May 14. U.S. Coast Guard/Chief Petty Officer John Masson

The Navy League’s Seapower is reporting that USCGC Bertholf is conducting SAR exercises with the Philippine Coast Guard.

“The crew of Bertholf also will participate in other joint events with members of the Philippine coast guard during the ship’s Manila port call. The events include a series of engagements on operational subjects such as damage control and search and rescue as well as sporting and social events. The activities are designed to improve interoperability and strengthen the ties between the two countries.”

North Korean Cargo Vessel Connected to Sanctions Violations Seized by U.S. Government

You may have seen a report that the US had seized a North Korean bulk cargo ship, the M/V Wise Honest (great name for a smuggler?). The first report I saw was from GlobalSecurity.org. It seemed to have left off a lot of details like where was it seized and by whom,

“On or about March 14, 2018, the Wise Honest was loaded with coal in Nampo, North Korea. On or about April 2, 2018, foreign maritime authorities intercepted and detained the Wise Honest. Maritime regulations require vessels like the Wise Honest engaged in international voyages to operate an automatic identification system (“AIS”) capable of providing information about the vessel to other ships and coastal authorities. However, despite its March 2018 voyage from North Korea, the Wise Honest had not broadcast an AIS signal since August 4, 2017.”

The report did mention the Coast Guard.

Mr. Demers and Mr. Berman (Assistant Attorney General for National Security and U.S. Attorney–Chuck) praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and its New York Field Office, Counterintelligence Division, and thanked the Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Office of International Affairs; the United States Coast Guard; and the Department of State for their assistance.

This CourtHouseNews report provides more background. The ship was seized by Indonesian Authorities. and is currently en route American Samoa.