Some recognition for what the Kimball has been doing in the Western Pacific from the Indo-Pacific Command web site Indo-Pacific Defense Forum, including a really nice photo.
Below is a D14 news release. The Japanese Cutter referred to, AKITSUSHIM (PLH-32), is one of the largest cutters in the world. It may not look like it in the photo, but it is twice as large as the KIMBALL. Only the Chinese have cutters that are larger.
This is more evidence of the Coast Guard’s continued interest in aiding our Western Pacific allies.
U.S., Japan Coast Guard strengthen capabilities through joint exercise
Editors’ Note: Click on images to download a high-resolution version.
JAPAN — The U.S. Coast Guard concluded a joint law-enforcement exercise Sunday with the Japan Coast Guard in the Philippine Sea, furthering interoperability in performing law-enforcement missions.
This weekend, ships from the U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard conducted exercises near the Ogasawara Islands of Japan. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and Japan Coast Guard Ship Akitsushima, two of the respective services’ newest and most capable vessels, operated alongside helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles to practice interdicting foreign vessels operating illegally inside Japanese waters.
“These illegal activities, such as illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, can have a major impact on the fragile marine ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Capt. Holly Harrison, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball. “We always benefit from and enjoy working with our Japanese Coast Guard partners as it enhances our collective ability to respond to any number of maritime threats and challenges.”
The U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard have been bolstering each other’s capabilities and effectiveness since the founding of the Japan Coast Guard in 1948. The agencies work together to counter illegal maritime activity and assist foreign maritime agencies in the Indo-Pacific region in improving their own capabilities necessary for maritime law enforcement.
“This exercise reaffirms our long-standing alliance and assures our two coast guards operate seamlessly together,” said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area. “Together we are committed to safeguarding mariners at sea, preventing destructive illegal fishing and smuggling, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
This Chinese People’s Liberation Army Daily post concerning use of deadly force, linked here, may be particularly interesting for its call out of the US Coast Guard.
Law enforcement on land, sea and in airspace under its own jurisdiction, with the use of weapons on necessary occasions, are the rights granted to sovereign states by international law. The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) also stipulates that lethal weapons can be used when enforcing the law in waters under its own jurisdiction. For the US Coast Guard (USCG), the use of force is even more common, and it is even planning to apply long-arm jurisdiction to China.
Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the USCG, claimed to strengthen deployment in the Asia-Pacific region and participate in security patrols in the waters surrounding China in response to Chinese maritime militia’s declaration of sovereignty in the South China Sea in April last year. Robert O’Brien, US National Security Advisor, announced on October 24 that the USCG would deploy Enhanced Response Cutters in the Western Pacific. . Without providing any evidence, he accused Chinese fishing boats of illegal fishing and claimed that the sovereignty of the United States and its neighbors in the Pacific had thus been threatened.
If they should choose to employ force against one of our cutter in their claimed “Nine Dash Line,” it is likely they would attempt to get several units in at very close range before opening fire, as they did in this engagement.
Next time we send a cutter into this area, it might be a good idea to have a squad of Marines along armed with shoulder fired missile or rocket launchers.
Most China Coast Guard Cutters are not as well armed or as fast as the Bertholfs, but there are exceptions. In all likelihood they would be more interested in causing casualties and chasing us off, than actually sinking a cutter. This is more likely to serve their purpose without getting themselves in a war. Not that I think such an attack would go unanswered, but they, or a mid-level commander, might be foolish enough to think they could get away with it. Still probably better not to have a lone cutter doing “Freedom of Navigation Operations,” although air cover might be sufficient. Really I would like to see an international repudiation of their claims in the form of an multi-national demonstration.
Combinations of CCG cutters with weapons larger than 14.5mm machine guns could be extremely dangerous at close range. Some of those are shown below.
The Indo-Pacific Defense Forum reports on the extent of the disaster that has befallen North Korean fishermen since their government has sold fishing rights to the PRC.
“The so-called ghost ships come ashore on Japan’s coastline and increasingly along Russia’s coast, according to a mid-September 2020 report by Lenta.ru, a Russian-language online newspaper.
“Japanese authorities report that more than 500 ghost boats have landed on the nation’s coast in the past five years, with 158 in 2019, Lenta.ru reported. The unidentified bodies found aboard are buried in unmarked graves in Japanese and Russian coastal towns, the online report said.”
“The purpose of the flights is to validate the wide-area maritime surveillance capabilities of RPAS for carrying out JCG’s missions, including search and rescue, disaster response, and maritime law enforcement. The flights are expected to run for approximately two months and will include support from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) at its Hachinohe base in Aomori Prefecture.”
The SeaGuardian system will feature a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver, and High-Definition – Full-Motion Video sensor equipped with optical and infrared cameras….The featured Raytheon SeaVue surface-search radar system provides automatic tracking of maritime targets and correlation of AIS transmitters with radar tracks.
Maybe we ought to ask if we could send an observer.
Naval News reports that,
The Vietnamese government signed an agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on July 28 to finance a project to build six patrol vessels for the Vietnamese Coast Guard (VCG). The vessels, based on the Aso-class of the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) will be built in Japan.
There are some things that are noteworthy here.
- Japan has started providing assistance to many of its neighbors and helping to strengthen their coast guards seems to be a favorite method. Helping the Philippines here and here. Malaysia here.
- In this case it is in the form of a very low interest loan (0.1%) with generous repayment terms, to have ships constructed in Japan (good for the Japanese shipbuilding industry).
- The speed of construction is also noteworthy, six ship with the last to be delivered Oct. 2025.
- The cost of each of these 79.0 m (259 ft 2 in) cutters is about the same as that for our Webber class WPCs.
The ASO class has not been built since 2006, but they are smaller and presumably cheaper than the larger classes of Japanese Coast Guard large patrol vessels (PL) that followed. The class was built shortly after the Battle of Amami-Ōshima and apparently incorporated lessons from that engagement including a heavier weapon, the Bofors 40mm/70, and ballistic protection for selected areas of the ship. They are also relatively fast at over 30 knots.
Below I have duplicated the self description from their “About Us” page. The page also includes contact information not duplicated here.
Not all the content is Coast Guard related, but it seems much of it is.
- There is a story about Indonesia’s Maritime Security Agency from June 15.
- There is a story about the Polarstern’s wintering over in the Arctic from June 15
- One about the apparent sharp increase in Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia. from June 24
- A report on an Exercise with the Maldives with Maritime Security aspects from June 27.
- One about Indonesia’s rejection of a Chinese proposal for negotiations on maritime borders from June 28
Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention.
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Indo-Pacific Defense Forum is a professional military magazine published quarterly by the Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command to provide an international forum for military personnel of the Indo-Pacific areas. The opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent the policies or points of view of this command or any other agency of the United States government. All articles are written by IPD Forum staff unless otherwise noted.
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Why two nations that should be allies cannot get along.
Baird Maritime has a short feature on the background of the dispute between Korea (both North and South) and Japan over 0.072415 square miles of rocks in the Sea of Japan. Also known as the Liancourt Rocks, they are Dokdo to the Koreans and Takeshima to the Japanese. The post also talks about other sources of bad feeling.
The US would very much like to see more defense cooperation between the two, but history and pride keep getting in the way. As an indicator of how strongly the South Koreans feel about this, they named their largest warship Dakdo after the island group.
Japan should take their case to the international tribunal and then accept the result.
Recently a drama played out between a Japanese fisheries agency ship and a North Korean fishing vessel and its crew. According to the text accompanying the YouTube,
“On October 7, a North Korean fishing boat sank after colliding with a Fisheries Agency patrol boat in the favorable fishing grounds near the Yamatotai area of Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Sea of Japan.
“On October 18, the Fisheries Agency released the video recorded on the patrol boat, finally showing the sequence of events prior to and after the accident.
“The accident took place about 350 kilometers northwest of Ishikawa Prefecture’s Noto Peninsula in Japan’s EEZ. Judging the fishing boat to be operating illegally, the patrol boat began to issue warnings for the fishing vessel to leave the area at around 8:50 A.M. on October 7. When the vessel did not leave, the patrol boat started spraying the vessel with water cannons at 9:04 A.M.
“The vessel made a sudden sharp turn, and at 9:07 A.M. collided with the patrol boat. The patrol boat had taken up position on the left side of the fishing boat and had been issuing audio warnings from a distance of about 200 meters.”
The fishing vessel subsequently sank. The crew took to the water. The Japanese vessel had its boat tow liferafts over to the people in the water. Ultimately another North Korean came over and picked up the people in the water.
Since the Coast Guard is now operating in these waters, the actions of the N. Korean fishing vessel, that to our eyes are irrational, are of more than academic interest.
We can’t really know what was going through the mind of the master of the N. Korean vessel.
- Has propaganda infused so much hate for the Japanese that the N. Koreans would strike out at them in any way they can?
- Did they think the Japanese vessel would back down?
- Do they even know about the concept of an Exclusive Economic Zone?
- Or, did the helmsman just slip on the wet deck and spin the wheel left in an attempt to regain his balance?
The Japanese behavior also suggests they are wary of the N. Koreans.
- They did not attempt to board
- While they provided liferafts, they did not attempt to pick up survivors