Piracy of the African Coast has been in the news a lot lately. The Dutch Frigate Tromp has been particularly successful in countering this problem. (Pirates mistakenly attacked her twice–suspect there may have been some deceptive lighting involved) Most recently she used her helicopter, and six marines who fast-roped down down from it, to recapture a German container ship that had been seized by ten pirates. In accordance with recent doctrine, the crew had locked themselves in a “safe room” so that they could not be used as hostages by the pirates. More info here and here.

If we send a cutter into the Indian Ocean again, perhaps we should send along an MSST fast-rope team.

UAV info (from the manufacturer)

We have all heard that the Coast Guard is evaluating “unoccupied aerial vehicles,” UAVs, UASs, or whatever we are calling them lately. Ran across this recently and thought some of you might be interesting. Particularly liked the fact that the videos included a launch, and in the case of the Scan Eagle video, a recovery on a very small vessel.

Scan Eagle

At any rate it offers a sample of what might be in the works. 24 hour endurance, synthetic aperture radar, electro-optic/IR turret, in systems that can weigh less than 50 pounds, and we can take it off and recover from something as small as Fast Response Cutter.

NSC namesakes– Frank H. Newcomb?

If you are not familiar with the Story of the Cutter Hudson’s heroism during the Spanish American War, you might want to take a look at this piece by one of our regular participants, William R. Wells, II (Wells2).

As the author points out, the crew never seemed to get the recognition they deserved. I would love to see the Hudson’s captain, First Lieutenant, Frank H. Newcomb, USRCS, receive the Medal of Honor as Wells2 suggest, but perhaps the Coast Guard should honor him by naming one of the new NSCs in his honor.

While we are at it any other candidates for this honor?

“Top 10 Recent Failures of the Coast Guard”

When people voluntarily give you a critique, you probably ought to at least listen. Below are links to a critique offered by a mariner, apparently one of considerable experience. I personally don’t feel qualified to comment on most of it, because it relates to mission areas where I have had little or no experience, but perhaps some of you will get something from it.
Part 1: http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/places-uscg-dropping-ball-part/
Part 2: http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/top-10-recent-failures-of-the-uscg-part-2/#more-13783

Arctic Patrol Vessel

With all the talk of the Arctic opening up, I’d like to pick you brains about the sort of ships we need. How will we balance of numbers and capability?

Do we need a new design? An ice strengthened OPC? Can 225s do the job? A salt water Mackinaw? (Anybody know if the new Mackinaw is restricted to fresh water?)

Do we perhaps need a new type of vessel–maybe an icebreaking helo carrier with hanger space that can alternately be used for containers of different types from scientific or personnel support to mine warfare modules?

Should we reactivate the Glacier as an interim measure?

There is some background here.

What do you think?

MSSTs and Irregular Naval Warfare

We have all probably read that five Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSST) are to be dissolved.  There is good background in a recent article in The Navy League’s magazine, “Sea Power”.

For those that would like a little more background on the potential threats, here are some links to historical employment of irregular naval warfare:

There were many more attacks in Vietnam. So called “sapper” attacks were fairly common.

GPS and development of technology for underwater work and recreation have made these capabilities much easier to achieve.

I’ve heard statements to the effect that others can do the mission better, but I don’t see anyone else stepping up to do the job, at least not in US ports other than Navy bases.

I have very mixed feelings about the underwater port security mission. It is really almost an impossible job to do with a high probability of success. There are too many potential targets, not unlike trying to protect subways or buses from suicide bombers. It’s a job the needs to be done, but it is most likely to be recognized only when there is a failure.

Cruise missiles from Container Ships

Interesting article here: The Problem with Proliferation: Cruise Missile Edition, highlights an emerging capability to arm container ships with cruise missiles.

For more information about the launch system including  a short animated film with US equipment in the hands of the bad guys, lookhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/mbUU_9bOcnM“> here.