North Korea Embargo

From the German Navy blog, Marine Forum, “2 Mar., The UN Security Council unanimously (!) decided on new sanctions on North Korea … a.o.t. closing gaps in the arms embargo that had allowed small arms and light weapons to be sent to North Korea; now full embargo on all weapons as well as any items that could directly support the North Korean armed forces (e.g. trucks that could be modified for military purposes) … all (not just suspicious) ships coming from or going to a North Korean port have to be inspected for embargoed materials.

While CG LEDETs will probably be involved, I cannot help but think that if we had enough ships, this would be a job better done by cutters than the Navy.

Project 22160 patrol ships, Russia’s Cutter X

The Zelenodolsk Shipyard in the Volga area will lay down the third Project 22160 patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin on February 18, shipyard spokesman Andrei Spiridonov told TASS on Monday. "The shipyard will hold a solemn ceremony of laying down the Project 22160 patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin developed by the Severnoye Design Bureau in St. Petersburg [in northwest Russia]," the spokesman said.

Recently, NavyRecognition reported Russia was laying down a third Project 22160 patrol ship. The first of this class should enter service next year. In size they fall between the Offshore Patrol Cutter and the Webber class WPCs, in the range I have called “Cutter X.” The size (1200-1800 tons full load) seems to be favored by many navies and coast guards.These ships are a bit unusual among small Russian ships in having a substantial range.

Reportedly the Russians are building six of these. Specs are as follows:

  • Length: 94 meters (308 ft)
  • Beam: 14 meters (46 ft)
  • Draught: 3.4 meters (11.2 ft)
  • Speed: 30 knots
  • Range: 6,000 nmi
  • Endurance:  60 days
  • Crew: 80

At one point there was a public statement that these had been designed to counter piracy off the Horne of Africa. But it has been more recently reported that they will be quipped with Kalibr (Tomahawkski) land attack missiles, the type recently used by ships in the Caspian Sea to attack targets in Syria. The ship is “modular” and has a reconfigurable space under the rear of the flight deck. The missile will be mounted in containers under the flight deck. Adding anti-submarine or additional anti-ship capabilities would require trading off the Kalibr missiles.

The ship has a new naval gun mount incorporating a 57mm gun. The gun is reportedly capable of 300 rounds per minute and a range of 12 km. Effective range is about 4 km. This is a development of gun with a long history in Soviet and Russian Service in both anti-air and anti-armor roles, and as is frequently the case with Russian weapons, the ammunition is shared in common with the Russian Army.

In addition they will carry short range Anti-Air missiles. It appears they will be vertical launched from canisters between the gun and superstructure.

While these ships do not have a strong self defense capability, the mounting of cruise missiles similar to the Tomahawk on small vessels, particularly on one like this, that has a relatively long range, gives them a sort of miniature maritime strike capability, far less capable, but also far cheaper than a Carrier Strike Group. While the ships are small and the weapons unobtrusive, the potential to accurately strike up to eight separate targets would have required an attack by dozens of aircraft not too many years ago.

Apparently all six ships are to be assigned to the Black Sea Fleet and will be home ported in Novorossiysk.

Interestingly, it appears the Russians may also be building a similar size anti-submarine warfare ship. Again NavyRecognition has the report.

Document Alert: World Wide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, 2/9/16

We have a statement for the record (pdf) from James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, dated February 9, 2016. Perhaps it is the nature of the beast, but there is no good news, and much that is bad.

Smuggling of every type appears to be on the rise including drugs and people. We can expect an increase in illegal immigration as a result of violence, poverty, and disorder in Latin America and particularly Cuba and Central America.

It is a relatively compact document. There are sections on Terrorism (pp 4-6), transnational organized crime (pp 11-12), Arctic (p 13), Environmental Risks and Climate Change (pp 13-14), health (including potential pandemics) (pp 14-15), and Global Displacement, “These 60 million consist of approximately 20 million refugees, 38 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), and approximately 2 million stateless persons, also according to UNHCR statistics.” (p.15)

There are also regional assessments including one on Latin America and the Caribbean (pp 28-29).

There is no regional assessment for the US. In terms of direct terrorist threats to the US, while there is a recognition of an aspiration on the part of various groups to attack the US, but the emphasis seems to be on “homegrown violent extremists” (HVEs) and there is nothing about the possibility of a maritime attack on the US. Is that because none exist?

US and Cuba Cooperate on Marine Conservation

BairdMaritime reports,

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Park Service (NPS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cuba’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment (CITMA). The MOU aims to facilitate joint efforts concerning science, stewardship, and management regarding Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).”

Check it out for more detail.

Presumably, the Coast Guard will have some role in enforcing restrictions on operations in these areas. Apparently the CG has had good long term relations with their Cuban counterparts.

President Signs Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act.

Source NOAA: Albecore, Bluefin, Skipjack, Yellowfin, and Bigeye Tuna

Source NOAA: Albecore, Bluefin, Skipjack, Yellowfin, and Bigeye Tuna

BairdMaritime reports, that “US President Barack Obama has signed the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act. The bi-partisan act promotes the sustainable management of eastern Pacific fisheries, tackles seafood fraud and prevents illegally harvested fish from entering the US.”

“In addition, the measure will allow the United States to ratify the Antigua Convention and fully participate in the work of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, which manages tunas and other highly migratory species in the eastern Pacific Ocean.”

Chinese Navy Operating Off Alaska

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that five Chinese Navy vessels (three surface combatants, an LPD, and a replenishment vessel) have been operating in international waters near Alaska.

This may have something to do with their recent exercises with Russia. It may also be that they hope to discourage US freedom of navigation exercises near China with the idea, “Now you see how we feel.”

Nothing really to get excited about, but a nice reminder that for literally thousands of miles of US coast, the only US warships around are Coast Guard cutters, and they are not that well armed.

New Sail Training Ship for Vietnam

From the German Navy blog “Marine Forum,” 28 August, “VIETNAM, Full-rigged sail training vessel LE QUY DON, built by Polish shipyard Marine Projects for the Vietnamese Navy, is on its transfer voyage from Poland around the Cape of Good Hope to Vietnam … mixed Polish-Vietnamese crew for final trials and crew training enroute.”

More here.