ex-USCGC Bramble Arrested, Now Up for Sale, Dec. 4

USCGC Bramble (WLB-392), USCG photo

Maritime Executive has as a short article about what has become of the former USCGC Bramble, a buoy tender that transited the North West Passage in 1957 along with USCGC Spar and USCGC Storis.

Museum ships are certainly desirable, but they are very hard to keep in presentable condition. Two very significant and unique museum ships, USS Olympia and USS Texas, have been constantly on the brink of failure. In addition to a fairly large number of light ships, we are fortunate to have Taney at the Baltimore Maritime Museum, in Baltimore, Maryland, and Ingham in Key West.

Thanks to Paul for bringing this to my attention. 

US Naval Institute General Essay Contest

Wanted to pass this along, and encourage participation. Note eligibility for USNI membership is essentially unlimited, so that should not be a barrier to participation. Deadline 31 Dec. The USNI page about the contest is here.

united states coast guard

R 211703 NOV 19
ALCOAST 366/19
A. Coast Guard External Affairs Manual, COMDTINST M5700.13 (series)
1. This ALCOAST announces the U.S. Naval Institute’s 2019 General Prize Essay Contest.
2. Overview. Located at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI),
a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization, has provided an open forum for honest debate,
informed discussion, and professional development for members of the Naval Services since 1873.
The vision and mission of the USNI is to give a voice to those who seek the finest Navy, Marine
Corps, and Coast Guard by providing an independent forum for those who dare to read, think,
speak, and write to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea
power and other issues critical to global security. USNI is known for its flagship magazine
Proceedings and a variety of historical and professional books.
3. USNI General Prize Essay Contest. Dating back to 1879, the General Prize is the Naval
Institute’s premier essay contest. Winning authors this year will join a long line of
great naval thinkers and innovators, including Commander Alfred Thayer Mahan, Rear
Admiral Stephen B. Luce, Lieutenant Ernest J. King, Lieutenant Commander James Stavridis,
and Commander James Winnefeld. This year’s General Prize Essay Contest invites you to
“dare to write to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea
power and other issues critical to national defense.” Participate in this open annual essay
contest to discuss the most compelling issues, ideas, and solutions impacting the sea services.
There is no restriction on topic. All essays are judged in the blind by the Naval Institute’s
Editorial board composed of serving Sea Service professionals.
    a. Eligibility: Open to all persons eligible for membership (including existing members)
in the Institute (to include U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard). The essay
must be original and not published or being considered for publication elsewhere.
    b. Length: 3,000 words maximum, excluding notes and sources.
    c. Prizes: First prize – $6,000. Second prize – $3,000. Third prize – $2,000.
    d. Submission Deadline: The deadline for entries is 31 December 2019. The winners will be
announced and published in the May 2020 Proceedings. Note: essays are submitted directly to
USNI and the U.S. Coast Guard plays no role in selecting the winning essays. Applicants shall
ensure entries conform to Chapter 6, sections (A) through (C) of REF (A).
    e. Additional details: submit the essay as a word attachment to essay@usni.org with “General
Prize Essay Contest” in the subject line. Include word count on the title page but do not
include your name on the title page or within the essay. Provide a bio and contact information
in a separate attachment.
4. Other Essay Contests and Writing Opportunities:
    a. Essay Contests. USNI hosts essay contests throughout the year on a variety of topics
including: Coast Guard, Cyber, Emerging and Disruptive Technology, Enlisted Perspectives,
Innovation & Risk, International Navies, Leadership, Marine Corps, Naval History, Naval
Intelligence, Naval Mine Warfare, and Naval Postgraduate School Foundation/USNI. For details
see: https://www.usni.org/essay-contests.
    b. Other Writing Opportunities. Authors can also submit articles for publication in
Proceedings or Naval History magazines, USNI Today (online), and USNI’s Blog (online).
For details see: https://www.usni.org/periodicals/proceedings-magazine/submission-guidelines.
5. RDML Douglas M. Fears, Assistant Commandant for Response Policy, sends.
6. Internet release is authorized.

“Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” Rule and the Coast Guard During a Lapse in Appropriation” –USNI

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi.

US Naval Institute has a short article discussing how delay of pay can undermine our efforts to inspire and retain good people, written by an active duty USCG commander.

This comes at a time when neither the DHS FY2020 budget nor legislation to guarantee continued pay for the Coast Guard in case of a government shutdown has been passed.

Three Missile Armed Cutter X for Senegal, 20 Patrol Boats for Ukraine

OPV 58 S from PIRIOU

Two posts from Naval News. French shipbuilders are doing well in the patrol vessel market.

First, “The Ministry of Armed Forces of Senegal and French shipbuilder PIRIOU signed November 17 a procurement contract for three OPV 58 S for the Navy of Senegal. The vessels will be fitted with missile systems, a first for this African navy.”

Second, “The Government of Ukraine gave its green light for the procurement of 20 FPB 98 patrol vessels made by French shipyard OCEA.”

The Senegalese OPVs:

The ships for Senegal fall into that class significantly larger than the Webber class, but significantly smaller than the OPCs. They will be even a little smaller than the 210s. It would be at the lower end of a type, I have called cutter X, vessels with a crew and equipment similar to that of a Webber class FRC, but with better sea keeping and longer endurance. Specifications are:

  • Length: 62.20 meters (204′)
  • Width: 9.50 meters (31.2′)
  • Draft: 2.90 meters (9.5′)
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Range / Endurance: 25 days, 4,500 nautical miles @ 12 knots
  • Hull / Structure: Steel / Aluminum
  • Accommodations: 48 (24 crew + 24 mission personnel)
  • Stern ramp for two RHIBs

For an Offshore Patrol Vessel, it is very well armed with:

  • A 76mm main gun on the Foc’sle
  • 4x Marte MK2/N anti-ship missiles forward, between the gun and the bridge
  • 2x 12.7mm manned manchine guns on the bridge wings
  • 2x 20mm remote weapon stations (Narwhal by Nexter) at the back of the bridge
  • A SIMBAD-RC surface to air system

The Marte MK2/N missile weighs 310 kg (682#) and is 3.85 metres (12.6′) long. The warhead weighs 70 kilogram (154 pound). The missile, has “an effective range in excess of 30 km, is a fire and forget, all weather sea skimming missile with inertial mid-course navigation through way points and active radar terminal homing. These missiles give these boats a range almost double that of the 57mm or 76mm guns.

SIMRAD-RC is a remote weapons station for launch of two Mistral missiles. Developed as a shoulder launched, Man Portable Air Defense (MANPAD) system, Mistral is a short ranged (6km) IR homing missile. It is claimed to be capable against a range of air targets as well as small surface targets.

Ukrainean OCEA FPB 98 patrol boat:

OCEA FPB 98 patrol boat (Credit: OCEA)

This is a deal, we discussed in July, when it appeared likely. I will repeat the description here.

They have a GRP hull and are powered by two 3,660 HP Caterpillar diesels using waterjets. Specs for vessels of this type sold to Algeria.

  • Displacement: 100 tons
  • Length: 31.8 meters (104’4″)
  • Beam: 6.3 meters (20’8″)
  • Draft: 1.2 meters (3’11”)
  • Speed: 30 knots
  • Range: 900 nmi @ 14 knots
  • Crew: 13

They will probably be equipped with a 20 to 30mm gun.


“Russia Is Eying More Armed Icebreakers After Launching Missile-Toting Arctic Patrol Ship” –The Drive

The Drive reports that Russia is looking at building more icebreaker warships.

A Russian shipbuilding industry official says that the country’s plans for fleets armed icebreakers, such as the Project 23550 Ice class corvettes, are growing and that they may be able to carry more even weapons depending on their exact configuration.

When I originally posted on the Project 23550 class, I questions whether we would ever actually see these vessels armed with missiles. After all adding containerized missiles may be an option, but so far the Russian Navy has not seemed enthusiastic about putting missiles on ships that do not also have defensive systems like electronic warfare and close in weapon systems. That is why, when this report talked about installation the Russian Pantsir-EM gun and missile defense system, it seemed to take on additional significance. But on reading it more carefully this was just speculation. The only upgrade actually mentioned by the “Russian shipbuilding industry official” was that the “This ships and others in its class may ultimately have a 100mm main gun, instead of a 76mm one as originally planned,”

Even with only a 76mm gun, this is the most heavily armed icebreaker in the world, but only because everyone else is virtually unarmed.

Both this ship and the Polar Security Cutter have space and weight provision for containers. The only real difference is that the Russians have a containerized missile system they are trying to sell and it has been pictured on this class.

If we start actually seeing cruise missiles, electronic warfare systems, and hard kill self defense systems like Pantsir-EM on Russian (or Chinese) icebreakers it will be real wake up call. But so far, the way these ships are armed is not significantly different from the Soviet era Ivan Susanin class naval and coast guard icebreakers.

I would note that if we start to see conflict over Antarctica, these ships could be useful there. Not against the US since we could put an aircraft carrier within striking distance, but perhaps against some of the other claimants.

I really don’t think we need to mirror the Russian capability to put containerized missiles on our icebreakers, but the Polar Security Cutters will be valuable, almost irreplaceable auxiliaries, and unlike the Russians, we have very few icebreakers, so we need to be able to quickly upgrade their defensive capabilities

“Coast Guard Reshaping Body Fat Measurement Standard in Pilot Study” —

USS Zephyr (PC 8) and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Pacific personnel, conducting operations in support of JIATF-S Operation Martillo. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Casey J. Hopkins

The US Naval Institute has post regarding the Coast Guard’s body fat measurement methods.

It sounds like the Coast Guard will use a decision tree with a lot of “if then” statements.

There is a weigh in. If you pass you are home free, if not, then to the taping.

The body fat screening involves taping males on their necks and waist, and females are taped on their necks, waist and hips. The member is now also taped with the abdominal body fat measure, Rooney said. If the member passes either of those two measurements, they are considered compliant.


The Coast Guard standard for the abdominal circumference is a maximum of 39 inches for men and 35.5 inches for women.

For Coast Guard members who exceed both taping measurements, Rooney said they receive a medical screening to determine if they’re eligible to take a physical fitness test, involving a 1.5- mile run, push-ups and sit-ups. Standards are age-based.

“If they pass it, then they’ll be in compliance,” Rooney said. “If they are not eligible, refuse to take it, or they fail it, they will be screened as we already do for medical events that maybe we have missed, and if not there, they’ll be placed on medical weight probation.”

There is more in the original post. Sounds relatively easy to comply, but still sounds like the threat of separation is the only motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It might be said that motivation should come from within, but there are circumstances where the demands of the job discourage healthy lifestyles.

I always appreciated the fact that the Coast Guard generally gave me a place and time to exercise. Hopefully everyone is getting this opportunity and is encouraged to take advantage. For the unit this may be a short term sacrifice, but it pays long term dividends.

We might provide motivation for heathier choices by having physical fitness on fitness reports and enlisted marks and support of fitness for subordinates included on fitness reports and senior enlisted marks.