S. Korean CG Boat Rammed and Sunk by Chinese F/V


This photo released by South Korean Defense Ministry on June 10, 2016 shows South Korean patrol boats forcing Chinese fishing boats from disputed waters.(Photo by AFP)

This is one of several reports I have seen. A 4.5 ton South Korean “speed boat” (probably around 30 foot or 8 to 10 meter) has been rammed and sunk by a Chinese fishing vessel believed to have been over 100 tons. There were no casualties.

Reports are somewhat confusing, but, the way I interpret the reports, there was a large fleet of Chinese vessels fishing illegally in South Korean waters. A boarding party of eight had boarded one of the fishing vessels leaving one man still in the boat. A second Chinese fishing vessel rammed the boat as it lay alongside the fishing vessel probably crushing it. The one man aboard was recovered safely.

It is not clear to me how the boarding party got off the first fishing vessel or why the vessel was not detained.

A diplomatic protest has been filed with the Chinese.

Thanks to Luke for bringing this to my attention.

China Attempts to Punish Singapore


Well, I already have four posts with many comments tracking China as they attempt to bully the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Now it seems it is time for one to track China’s attempts to Bully Singapore.

This post from the Independent, is about a proposed canal across the isthmus of Thailand, but if you read down to the second half of the post, you’ll see it is really about Chinese displeasure because Prime Minister Lee of Singapore has been standing up for a rules based international order rather than one based on force.

Explosive Expansion of China Coast Guard

Informationdissemination has a post on China’s shipbuilding program for cutters for their recently consolidated Coast Guard. The build rate is amazing.

…36 cutters of 1500 ton, 1000 ton and 600 ton class were built for various provincial flotilla of CMS. Much of the building and launching activities happened in 2013 and 2014.

…2 12,000 ton cutters…, 4 5000 ton cutters…, 4 4000 ton cutters…and 10 more 3000 ton cutters…

…all the newer large cutters for various arms of the consolidated Coast Guard are installed with naval gun.

Of the 2 smaller agencies that consolidated, HaiGuan (Chinese customs) had an order for 3 1500-ton class cutter with electric propulsion and 9 600 ton class cutters.

The new consolidated Coast guard agency have since started new programs. A year ago, they started projects for Type 818 patrol vessels (3000 ton class) and Type 718 cutters (2000 ton class), HP shipyard signed for 4 of the Type 818 and 5 of Type 718.

Reportedly the China Coast Guard already has 80 cutters of 1000 tons or more, twice the number in the USCG and it looks like it is still growing. Two of them will be the largest Offshore Patrol Vessels in the world.

The decision to arm all their larger cutter with Naval guns means they will have many more ships capable of performing Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS). It also means the kind of shoving matches we have seen between China’s ships and those of other nations are potentially more dangerous.

“China’s Second Navy” (the China CG)–USNI

The April, 2015 issue of US Naval Institute Proceedings has published an article which can be read on line, examining the Chinese Coast Guard and how it is using its blue water fleet, the largest fleet of cutters in the World (80 ships of over 1,000 tons and still growing).

It is worth a read. The author tracks the changing tactics employed by Chinese Law Enforcement vessels, and he sees a progression of increasingly aggressive actions.

Coast Guard Personnel as Ship Riders in the South China Sea?

Informationdissemination.net has a surprising proposal for dealing with the Chinese non-military aggressiveness in the South China Sea. He proposes putting US personnel (he specifically mentions US Coast Guard personnel among other possibilities) on the vessels of friendly nations, specifically mentioning the Philippines, but this might be extended to other nations facing similar attempted intimidation.

The intended effect of emplacing U.S. personnel aboard allied vessels ideally should be twofold. First, help our allies by lowering their risk of operations (such as resupplying isolated garrisons) and assuring them that the U.S. is a stalwart friend. Second, negate Chinese escalation dominance by forcing them to confront Americans in order to achieve their ends. This would force them into a choice between moving to higher level rungs on the escalation ladder and therefore incurring a greater risk of conflict with the U.S., or backing off. Whatever course they chose, their incremental approach would be dealt a setback.

The comments also note that having a US rep on board would also insure that incidents are accurately reported keeping allies as well as the Chinese honest and lending the reports greater credibility.

China Builds Cutter X for Nigeria

NavyRecognition Photo, Model of P18N OPV on the CSOC stand during AAD 2014
Photo credit: NavyRecognition, Model of the P18N OPV on the CSOC stand during AAD 2014. Click to enlarge.

NavyRecognition reports delivery of another cutter similar in concept to Cutter X. This time it is first of two being built in China for Nigeria.

P18N Offshore Patrol Vessels have a displacement of 1,700 tons, a length of 95 m, width of 12.2 m and beam of 3.5 m. It is powered by two MTU 20V 4000M diesel engines (I believe this is essentially the same engine as in the Webber class WPCs–Chuck). The maximum speed is 21 knots. The endurance of the vessel is 20 days at sea (range 3000 nautical miles at 14 knots) for a crew of 70 sailors.

The range and speed are certainly adequate for their purposes, but “nothing to write home about,” and the hangar is only suitable for UAVs, but it is actually better equipped in some ways than the proposed Cutter X with a 76mm gun and two 30mm. This probably contributes to the size of its 70 member crew.

Nigeria is modernizing their forces. The Nigerian Navy took over the former USCGC Chase in 2011, and they expect to get the Gallatin in 2015. Nigeria is the source of much of our imported oil, and they have an ongoing insurgency and a serious piracy problem.

If the helicopter on the model pictured above looks familiar, it is a Z-9, a Chinese license built version of the French helicopter that was the basis for the H-65. Chinese variants include both ASW and attack helicopter versions.

A Feast of Cabbage and Salami: Part I – The Vocabulary of Asian Maritime Disputes–CIMSEC

CIMSEC has posted an interesting article, “A Feast of Cabbage and Salami: Part I – The Vocabulary of Asian Maritime Disputes” for anyone interested in the current maritime disputes in East Asia, and, in fact, for anyone interested in international maritime law. It is apparently the first of a series and includes a wealth of links for further study.

“We Need More Coast Guard” says 7th Fleet

Waesche Carat 2012

NationalDefenseMagazine.org has a piece that reports the Seventh Fleet advocating for the Coast Guard.

There is an apparent error in that Capt. David Adams is identified as “Commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet.” I assume they mean he is a spokesman for ComSeventhFleet. Nevertheless, the good news is that someone in 7th Fleet is advocating for the Coast Guard. The bad news is that the Coast Guard may not be, being recognized for what it is already doing.

The implied desire in the article that the Coast Guard send ships to the South China Sea to confront the Chinese Coast Guard,

“We have no white hulls in the Pacific, hardly,” Adams said. “We are going to have to fund the Coast Guard, not to do their conventional missions, but to come and help with the white-hull problem out in the Pacific.”

is probably a non-starter, both because of a shortage of Coast Guard assets and because the Coast Guard has no authority in the waters in question, but that may not have been what the Captain was really saying, although taking Philippine and Vietnamese fisheries enforcement officers aboard a National Security Cutter and using it for fisheries enforcement under their authority in the South China Sea could be interesting.

Dean Cheng, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian studies center suggested,

“‘The Coast Guard is a civilian entity, and there is little reason to my mind that [it] should not exercise in conjunction with the coast guards and civilian law enforcement entities of American allies’ in the Asia-Pacific region, he said”

Mr. Cheng, must have missed USCGC Waesche’s participation in CARAT 2012, the transfer of two 378s to the Philippines and boats to Vietnam and really for the 1000th time, the Coast Guard is a military service.

(Actually very few of the China Coast Guard ships are repainted navy ships and most of their cutters are not as well armed as their USCG counterparts.)

What more can the Coast Guard do? We could certainly sell (or the State Department could give) cutters, boats, and aircraft to SE Asian countries and help train their coast guards. Foreign Military Sales of Offshore Patrol Cutters, Webber class WPCs, and HC-144s with subsequent training might be an instrument of foreign policy. There used to be a something called “seconding” whereby officers of one country filled billets in the armed services of another, but the USCG is not going to be enforcing their laws.

If the nations of Southeast Asia do as Bob Marley sang and “Stand-up, stand-up for your right,” and the Chinese gray hulls “over the horizon” are indeed tempted to intercede, I hope some haze gray 7th Fleet ships are near by to dissuade them from doing anything foolish. Coast Guard cutters will not.

Note, I changed this post after realizing I had misread parts of the referenced post.

Chinese Drift Net F/V Seized in the North Pacific

CCGD17 is reporting an unusual fisheries case.

This seizure was a result of an international effort. The F/V was spotted by a Canadian CP-140 (similar to a P-3) and boarded by a team from Morgenthau assisted by two Chinese agents, 625 miles East of Tokyo (Japan was also listed as a participant in the operation). After violations were discovered, the vessel was detained and custody subsequently transferred to a Chinese Coast Guard cutter.

I can’t help but be curious what will happen to the vessel, its owners and crew, when the Chinese government seems to condone and even encourage violation of international fisheries norms elsewhere.

How to Create Enemies and Make People Hate You–China vs Indonesia

We have already talked about China’s difficulties with her neighbors Japan and the Philippines. Now we have a report of a confrontation with Indonesia. Apparently Indonesia had chosen to keep this quiet, but the Chinese have chosen to brag about it.

The Indonesian vessel involved was reportedly a Todak class, which is a German Lurssen “PB-57” design, a bit larger than the FRC at 447 tons fl, 58.1 meters long and 7.6 meters of beam, armed with a Bofors 57mm (like that on the NSC), a 40mm and two 20mm. Clearly if it had come to a fight, the Indonesian vessel would have enjoyed an advantage, at least until Chinese reinforcements arrived.

China is showing a complete disregard for the provisions of the UNCLOS treaty to which they are a party.

Making an enemy of Indonesia is a particularly bad idea for China, in that Indonesia potentially controls all the major straits through which the vast majority of Chinese trade must pass and all the alternatives are also in the hands of nations China seems intent on alienating.