Coast Guard will begin testing unmanned surface vehicles off Hawaii

At left, a concept photo of the unmanned surface vehicle that will be demonstrated by Spatial Integrated System in the maritime domain awareness technology evaluation by the Coast Guard Research and Development Center this summer. At right, the technology evaluation will also include a SailDrone, shown here during a project with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ocean Climate Stations.

Just passing this new release along, in view of possible future significance and unusual nature. More info here.

united states coast guard 
News Release U.S. Coast Guard 14th District Hawaii and the Pacific

Coast Guard will begin testing unmanned surface vehicles off Hawaii 
HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center, in partnership with local Coast Guard units, will be conducting test and evaluation of unmanned surface vehicles off the south shore of Oahu from October 7th through November 5th.

The tests will focus on autonomous vessel systems from Saildrone and Spatial Integration Systems, in addition to a USCG owned autonomous research vessel made by Metal Shark.

This evaluation will examine each vessels’ ability to provide persistent maritime domain awareness, especially in remote areas of the oceans. While potentially applicable to many Coast Guard missions, there is potential these technologies will help enable the Coast Guard to better protect critical natural living marine resources from Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and other illicit activities.

RADM Eric Jones’ Comments on the U.S.C.G.’s D7 Operations and the Fast Response Cutter at Virtual SNA 2020 –by Peter Ong

Guest Author Peter Ong is back, to give us a taste of the 2020 Surface Navy Association comments from Seventh District Commander Eric Jones.

The surprise here for me, was that they are looking for a way to provide an airborne use of force package to support the Webber Class WPC. The system they need may have already been developed as a palletized system for the airframe the Coast Guard designates the HC-144. There are currently HC-144s based in Miami. 


“To be Battle-Ready is to always be ready.”—RADM Eric Jones (U.S.C.G.) at SNA 2020

 United States Coast Guard’s District Seven Operations and Assessment

At the Surface Navy Association 2020 (SNA 2020) in August 25, 2020, virtual due to COVID-19, RADM Eric Jones (U.S.C.G.), stressed Readiness and Responsiveness in his Question and Answer session on-screen with “Battle-Ready Cutters.”  He emphasized, “Battle-Ready Cutters are more than ships. They’re the right team; the right training; the right partnerships; the right authorities; the right technology,” said Jones. “Frankly, the right Force Package. Battle-Ready Cutters are greater than the sum of their parts to meet both National Security and Regional Demands across the full spectrum of military operations, law enforcement, environment response, and Humanitarian Assistance.”

U.S.C.G. Area of Operations District Seven covers waters around South Carolina,
Georgia, Florida, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico–Map: U.S.C.G. D7 Homepage
(Area in blue is part of District 8. District 7/8 boundary in the Gulf of Mexico extends 199 degrees true from the coastal boundary to the Mexican coast–Chuck)

RADM Jones is responsible for District Seven’s (D7) Atlantic Area of Operations that cover the Southeastern United States, the Caribbean, and the (Eastern–Chuck) Gulf of Mexico.  Headquarter in Miami, Florida, D7’s District details and operational duties include:

  • 8 million square miles with 18,000 miles of coastline from South Carolina to South America
  • Covers and patrols 34 foreign nations and territories
  • Interfaces with four Combatant Commands (COCOMs)
  • Has 3,600 Active Duty personnel
  • Has 745 Reservists
  • Has 173 Civilians
  • Has 4,400 Auxiliary personnel
  • Icebreaking excepted (not covered at SNA 2020)
  • Provides protection for Cape Canaveral rocket launches
  • Provides U.S. Navy Ballistic Missile Submarine protection, but that is outside the scope of the Rear Admiral’s discussion at Virtual SNA 2020
  • District 7 has aging Medium Endurance Cutters (WMEC) of the Famous-class and Reliance-class Cutters, and new FRCs. D7 possess the largest fleet of 19 Fast Response Cutters in the U.S. Coast Guard. (Soon to be 20 FRCs–Chuck)
  • Duties include combating the Drug War, pursuing and apprehending Human smugglers, Search and Rescue, and responding to disasters.”1

“We have several countries worried about the flow of weapons and bulk cash from the U.S.A. into their nations,” RADM Jones said. “That is where having SOUTHCOM [Southern Command] as a local and very strong partner helps.” Jones stated that in a given year, there are around 20 to 30 Coast Guard operations in the Caribbean.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, D7 Cutters conducted 1,200 ship boardings for illegal fishing inspections and issued numerous citations when many at-sea fishermen thought no one in the U.S. government was looking for, policing, or paying attention because of the pandemic and shelter-in-place Lockdown.

Coast Guard Cutters and crews are going 40, 50, and even 70 days at sea even with COVID.  “This is what it takes to remain Battle-Ready,” said Jones.

“District Seven Cutters and crew interdicted 1,500 migrants at the Southeastern region of the United States at sea [north of the Greater Antilles]. In addition, Cutters and crews also interdicted 116 migrants off of Florida, and over 500 migrants bound for Puerto Rico.”

RADM Jones said that SOUTHCOM was boosted in the past five months with an infused force of, “17 Coast Guard Cutters and 7 Navy ships with embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments, as well as four Allied ships in the Caribbean region, and continues to support ongoing U.S. government as well as internationally supported government operations, reducing the availability of illicit drugs and saving countless lives in the United States and throughout the region.”  The Allied ships in the region have Flight-Decks and are from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

RADM Jones continued, citing that the joint “Battle-Ready Coast Guard and Navy fleet in the Caribbean have interdicted 14 suspected smuggling vessels, seizing 6,200 kilograms of cocaine and 7,900 pounds of marijuana and detaining 47 suspected narco-traffickers.  In addition, this fleet has disrupted an additional 10,400 kilograms of cocaine and 6,400 pounds of marijuana.  All told, interdiction of these drugs has placed a $600 million dent in drug profits.”

USCGC Kathleen Moore (WPC-1109)

The U.S.C.G. Fast Response Cutter, Sentinel-class

According to the United States’ official Coast Guard website, “The fast response cutter is capable of deploying independently to conduct missions that include port, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense.”

Characteristics

  • Number Planned: 64
  • Length: 154 feet
  • Beam: 25 feet
  • Draft: 9 feet 6 inches
  • Displacement: 353 long tons
  • Maximum Speed: 28+ knots
  • Range: 2,500 nautical miles
  • Endurance: Five days
  • Crew: 24

Features

  • Enhanced response time with a minimum top speed of 28 knots
  • Ability to conduct missions on moderate seas up to transit speed for eight hours in all directions
  • Ability to survive in very rough seas up to loiter speed for eight hours in all directions
  • Armed with a stabilized 25-mm machine gun mount and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns
  • Fully interoperable command and control systems with Coast Guard existing and future assets and with the departments of Homeland Security and Defense.”2

RADM Eric Jones was asked a question at Virtual SNA 2020 about his thoughts on the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class (WPC) Fast Response Cutter (FRC) now that all 19 are in the D7 Area of Operations and mature with sailing and the FRC crews’ working experience.

“They’re fantastic assets. They’re very capable. But we/they do want to use them as interceptors and pouncers so we’re always looking for the best way to provide maritime patrol aircraft and intelligence to make sure that we got them in the right spot to intercept the cases as they come across. Very capable crew; it is not a 110 [110-foot Island Class patrol boat] . It has over twice the tonnage of a 110.  Its endurance is well beyond what a 110 can do. Far more comfortable for the crew and having that stern-launched small boat allows them to do intercepts.  And as we were discussing earlier, we’re looking for ways to provide airborne use-of-force at a similar Force Package to what you see in the deep Caribbean or Eastern Pacific to allow the AUF [Airborne Use of Force] to combine forces with the FRCs to successfully prosecute cases that move across the Central Caribbean from the north coast of Columbia and Venezuela to the south coast of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.”

—RADM Eric Jones (U.S.C.G.) at SNA 20203

References:

1 Informative slide about U.S.C.G. D7 Operations at RADM Eric Jones presentation at Virtual SNA 2020.

2 WPC-1101. U.S.C.G. Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter.  Referred from https://www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Acquisitions-CG-9/Programs/Surface-Programs/Fast-Response-Cutters/

3 RADM Eric Jones, U.S.C.G. at Virtual Surface Navy Association, August 25, 2020

Modern Merchants Can Be Very Big, and Very Hard Targets

Just wanted to pass along some photographs I ran across recently, to show why the Coast Guard might have a hard time stopping a modern merchant ship with our 25 and 57mm guns.

This is an extreme example, but it is the way the industry is going. The ship is 1302 ft in length, 207 ft of beam, and has a maximum speed of 31 knots. That means it can transit the 200 nautical miles from the edge of the EEZ to the coast in less than 6.5 hours.

Thanks to James Udan for bringing this to my attention.

“Coast Guard fields new Glock pistols” –UPI, Departure from DOD Standard

The U.S. Coast Guard began fielding the new Glock 19 Gen5 MOS pistol this week, according to the company. Photo courtesy of Glock Inc.

UPI is reporting that the Coast Guard is introducing a new pistol,

The Glock Gen5 MOS pistol will replace the .40mm Sig Sauer P229 DAK which the Coast Guard has used since 2006. The Army, Navy and Marines chose to replace the aging handgun with Sig Sauer’s M18 Modular Handgun System, and have begun rolling out the new weapons to

units around the world.

Cannot help but wonder if departing from the DOD standard is a good idea.

 

“Guam’s first Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter arrives at Apra Harbor” –D14

Below is a press release from D14. This is significant as the first FRC homeported in the Western Pacific. The ability of these little ships to self deploy to the Western Pacific is impressive. The crew has every reason to be proud, but we really should not be too surprised. Flat bottomed Landing Craft Infantry (LCI), 28 of which were Coast Guard manned, transited similar distances during World War II. They were essentially the same size (160 ft loa and 385 tons full load) and also had a crew of 24, but they usually did these transits in groups.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 14th District Hawaii and the Pacific
Contact: 14th District Public Affairs
Office: (808) 535-3230
After Hours: HawaiiPacific@uscg.mil
14th District online newsroom

Guam’s first Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter arrives at Apra Harbor

Myrtle Hazard Myrtle Hazard Myrtle Hazard

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download a high-resolution version.

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) arrived at its new homeport in Santa Rita, Guam, Thursday.

The crew of the Myrtle Hazard traveled from Key West, Florida to Guam, covering a distance of over 10,000 nautical miles during the two month journey.

The new Fast Response Cutter (FRC) is the first of three scheduled to be stationed on Guam and replaces the 30-year old 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. FRCs are equipped with advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems and boast greater range and endurance.

“FRC’s in Guam strengthen and affirm the U.S. Coast Guard’s operational presence in Oceania,” said Lt. Tony Seleznick, commanding officer of the Myrtle Hazard. “We increase the fleet’s range, endurance, and capabilities to deter illegal behavior, support Search and Rescue, promote maritime stability, and strengthen partnerships.”

The FRCs represent the Coast Guard’s commitment to modernizing service assets to address the increasingly complex global Maritime Transportation System. Like the Island-class patrol boats before them, the Myrtle Hazard will support the people of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and our international partners throughout Oceania.

FRC’s are designed for various missions including drug interdiction, defense operations, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, marine safety, and environmental protection. FRC’s can reach speeds of up to 28 knots and endure 5 days out at sea while covering over 2,500 nautical miles.

“Myrtle Hazard will significantly increase the capabilities of the Coast Guard throughout the region,” said Capt. Chris Chase, commander, Coast Guard Sector Guam. “I am excited to welcome the crew of the Myrtle Hazard home and look forward to them conducting operations with our partners in the near future.”

Myrtle Hazard, the cutter’s namesake, was the first female to enlist in the Coast Guard. Enlisting in January, 1918, she became a radio operator during World War I. She ended her service in 1919 as an Electrician’s Mate 1st Class.

Each FRC has a standard 24-person crew. This will bring over 70 new Coast Guard members to Guam, along with a projected 100 family members. In addition to the crews of the three ships additional Coast Guard support members and their families will also be in Guam.

Coast Guard cutter arrives in Japan following an onboard fire” –Pacific Area

Below is a Pacific Area news release. A couple of interesting things about this. First of course is that one of our ships had a fire. But there is more. Waesche was well on her way. Based on a photo caption, she left Alameda on Aug. 22. Unlike the last time a National Security Cutter went to the Western Pacific, there was no public announcement of departure. The lack of publicity may have something to do with the COVID 19 pandemic. It might be that, it is now considered a routine deployment. Maybe something else?

united states coast guard

News Release

Sep. 22, 2020
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
Contact: Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs
D11-DG-M-PACAREA-PA@uscg.mil
Pacific Area online newsroom

Coast Guard cutter arrives in Japan following an onboard fire

Photo: Crews battle fire onboard Coast Guard Cutter Waesche 

Photo: Crews battle fire onboard Coast Guard Cutter Waesche PHOTO: Alameda, California-based Coast Guard cutter departs for Western Pacific patrol Photo: Crews battle fire onboard Coast Guard Cutter Waesche
PHOTO: Alameda, California-based Coast Guard cutter departs for Western Pacific patrol VIDEO: Alameda, California-based Coast Guard cutter departs for Western Pacific patrol PHOTO: Alameda, California-based Coast Guard cutter departs for Western Pacific patrol

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche (WMSL 751) arrived at Yokosuka, Japan today after combatting a shipboard engineering fire on Sept. 20, during a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet’s area of operations.

Black smoke was reported at 5:18 p.m. (local time) Sunday, and investigations revealed fires in the exhaust stack and nearby spaces.

After 90 minutes of firefighting, the fires were confirmed extinguished.

Five crew members reported minor injuries sustained during firefighting efforts and were treated by the onboard medical team.

The extent of the damages and cause of the fire are currently under investigation. While at Fleet Forces Yokosuka, the cutter will undergo further inspection and potentially repairs.

“The rapid response and courageous efforts from the crewmembers aboard Waesche to quickly contain and extinguish the fire are a testament to the bravery and skill of this crew,” said Capt. Jason Ryan, Waesche’s commanding officer.

The cutter is under the tactical control of U.S. 7th Fleet as part of routine presence operations in support of the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

In 2019, Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf and Stratton deployed for a combined 326 days to the Western Pacific.

Both cutters enforced United Nations Security Council resolutions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by monitoring and gathering intelligence on vessels conducting ship-to-ship transfers in the East China, South China, and Yellow Seas.

Bertholf and Stratton also engaged in professional exchanges and capacity-building exercises with partner navies and coast guards while visiting ports in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Fiji, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Bertholf made history during their patrol as the first Coast Guard cutter to transit the Taiwan Strait March 24-25, 2019.

Stratton’s crew combated illegal fishing by conducting seven high seas fisheries boardings under the authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission while transiting between the Philippines and Guam.

The Coast Guard’s ongoing deployment of resources to the Indo-Pacific directly supports U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives. The service’s unique capabilities, mission sets, and longstanding partnerships strengthen maritime governance, security, and the rule of law throughout the region.

Waesche is the Coast Guard’s second 418-foot Legend-class national security cutter and one of four homeported in Alameda. National security cutters have a crew of more than 150 and are among the largest and most technologically sophisticated vessels in the Coast Guard’s fleet.

Vice Commandant testifies before Congressional hearing focused on Arctic

USCGC Healy and CCGC Louis S St.Laurent (Photo by Jessica Robertson, US Geological Survey)

From the MyCG web site.

Vice Commandant testifies before Congressional hearing focused on Arctic

Watch live Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, as Vice Commandant, Adm. Charles Ray testifies before a Congressional Hearing focused on the Arctic.

The details and an internet link to a live-webcast of the hearing are contained below:

Date/Time:         Tuesday – September 22, 2020 (Time: 2:30 p.m. E.D.T.)
Hearing Title:    “U.S. Coast Guard Capabilities for Safeguarding National Interests and Promoting Economic Security in the Arctic”
Before the:         Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation – Security Subcommittee (S.CST-S)

Coast Guard
Witness:
              Admiral Charles Ray, Vice Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

If you wish to view this Congressional Hearing via “Live-Webcast” a video-feed will be available shortly before the hearing begins (approx. 2:25 p.m. E.D.T.) at this website:

Please e-mail Mr. Joseph Bowes at joseph.r.bowes@uscg.mil if you have any questions regarding this information.

“Court martial concludes following death of Coast Guard member in Alaska” –News Release

Just passing this along. No comments please.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
Contact: Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs
Sept. 18, 2020
(510) 816-1700
D11-DG-M-PACAREA-PA@uscg.mil
Pacific Area online newsroom

Court martial concludes following death of Coast Guard member in Alaska

ALAMEDA, Calif. — A general court martial concluded Thursday for a Coast Guard member accused of violating various articles under the Uniform Code of Military Justice related to the death of a Coast Guard member in Alaska in January 2019.

The court martial of Seaman Ethan Tucker, convened by the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area commander, commenced Sept. 8.  A military judge found Tucker not guilty of Article 119, involuntary manslaughter, and Article 134, negligent homicide. The judge found Tucker guilty of: one specification of Article 107, false official statement; one specification of Article 128, assault consummated by a battery; one specification of Article 92, violation of a general order for consuming alcohol underage; and one specification of Article 134 for doing or failing to do certain acts that contributed to a Coast Guard member’s death which was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the Armed Forces. 

Tucker was sentenced to a bad conduct discharge, reduction to paygrade E-1, and 14 months confinement.

“When COVID-19 sidelined 18 members of a Coast Guard cutter crew, cadets stepped in” –Task and Purpose

An MH-60S Knight Hawk Helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 conducts ‘touch and go’ drills aboard U.S. Coast Guard Legend-class cutter USCGC Munro (WMSL-755) during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020 on Aug. 25, 2020. US Navy Photo

Task and Purpose reports on an unexpected summer cruise for CG Academy third class brought on when USCGC Munro crewmembers came down with COVID19. A little ALPAT and RIMPC 2020.

IUU Enforcement

As if to prove the new emphasis on IUU is not just a paper exercise, we have a report of a National Security Cutter and a C-130 involved in a multi-national fisheries enforcement operation in the Western Pacific.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 14th District Hawaii and the Pacific
Contact: 14th District Public Affairs
Office: (808) 535-3230
After Hours: HawaiiPacific@uscg.mil
14th District online newsroom

Coast Guard cutter returns to Hawaii after completing multi-country operation targeting illegal fishing in the South Pacific Ocean

Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and Air Station Barbers Point HC-130

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download a high-resolution version.

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756) returned to Honolulu Sunday following its nearly two month patrol supporting the multi-country maritime Operation Nasse throughout Oceania.

Operation Nasse is an annual Pacific Quadrilateral Defense Coordination Group operation consisting of assets from the United States, Australia, France, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency which completed August 23.

“This is the first time the Coast Guard has sent a surface asset to participate during the Pacific Quadrilateral Defense Coordination Group’s operation,” said Lt. j.g. Joseph Fox, an assistant combat systems officer aboard the Kimball. “Service members from the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and an Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 aircrew conducted joint missions with their multi-national counterparts to achieve the common goal of preventing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the Pacific.”

The purpose of this year’s operation was to investigate the effect COVID-19 had on fishing activities on the high seas and to identify fishing vessels not complying with the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) conditions. Illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing undermines a nation’s sovereignty, threatens its economic security, and weakens global rules-based order.

Each participating country provided assets to support the operation including flights by RNZAF P3K Orions based out of Auckland, Australian Maritime Border Command Dash 8s based out of Brisbane, and French Guardians from Noumea.

The partner’s cooperation provided a significant reach in surveillance which allowed the French patrol boat “La Glorieuse” and the Kimball to hone in on specific vessels identified as possibly being of interest to confirm their activities were within regulations.

Air and sea surveillance, and maritime intelligence sharing provided an opportunity for the participants to work collaboratively to detect, deter, suppress, and report potential IUU fishing activity.

In addition to Operation Nasse, the crew of the Kimball also conducted a high seas patrol off American Samoa and Fiji.

Working closely with their Fijian counterparts, the crew supported U.S.-Fiji bilateral agreements and enforced partner nations respective Exclusive Economic Zones while promoting legal, sustainable fisheries.

In the Pacific, annual Tuna catch is estimated at over $5 billion and provides a significant percentage of the income of many of the South Pacific Nations. Ensuring that vessels operating on the high seas are complying with WCPFC regulations to protect fish stocks and other marine life resulting in these valuable resources remaining sustainable for future generations.

All asset crews were working to national rules regarding COVID-19 which were implemented to keep all personnel as safe as possible while still being able to achieve many of the operational goals.