US Coast Guard Ships Sail for ‘Law Enforcement’ Duty…in the South China Sea

Just 15,000 km from San Diego...clearly a US coastal matter

Fishing season makes it the perfect time of the year for a confrontation with China’s coast guard

The U.S. Coast Guard is touting increased operations in the Western Pacific, thousands of miles from American shores, as China’s coast guard and civilian fishing militias increasingly assert the country’s territorial claims.

A presence in the South China Sea and elsewhere will help enforce the sovereignty of partner nations in the disputed waters, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander Vice Admiral Linda Fagan told a conference call. Coast Guard cutters USCGC Bertholf and USCGC Stratton are being deployed with the Seventh Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan.

The ships will help “law enforcement and capacity-building in the fisheries enforcement realm,” Fagan said.

Admiral Fagan

The move comes amid complaints from Asian nations about Chinese efforts to assert territorial claims in the East and South China seas. Besides a growing navy, China has centralized military control over its 200-ship China Coast Guard, equipped the force with larger ships and deputized civilian vessels to assist in the operations.

The U.S. Navy has already put the American coast guard vessels to work, with the Bertholf joining a transit through the Taiwan Strait in March. Last month, the U.S. Coast Guard staged a joint exercise with two Philippine vessels in Chinese-claimed waters, reportedly sailing past two Chinese ships in the process.

“The Coast Guard’s areas of responsibility have grown over the last couple of decades,” said Paul Sullivan, a security expert at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. “It looks like they are also being asked to do more to protect sea lanes and more in the Western Pacific as tensions mount with China.”

418-Foot Cutter

It was the first visit by the U.S. Coast Guard in seven years, Fagan said, adding the return to engagement was in line with prior actions and consistent with international law. “It is a recognized international strait and our ships sail through there,” Fagan said.

The Bertholf, a 418-foot national security cutter with 170 crew members, departed Alameda, California, in January to start its patrol in the Western Pacific Ocean. Fagan said then that the ship would engage in professional exchanges and capacity building with partner nations. The Stratton is a similarly-sized cutter that can be at sea for 90 days.

China asserts control over more than 80% of the South China Sea, a key shipping route also claimed by Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

This is the time of year when China enforces a fishing plan off its shores, often resulting in confrontations between its coast guard and foreign fishing fleets. Vietnam and the Philippines have repeatedly complained of harassment from Chinese coast guard vessels, while Philippine officials have reported increased sightings of Chinese militia off the country’s coasts.

On Monday, two China Coast Guard vessels and two other militia boats were spotted circling the disputed Scarborough Shoal, Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Captain Armand Balilo said in statement.

The U.S. Coast Guard was seeking to support Pacific partners in the region, Fagan said. “We are very much interested in engaging with partner nations in using our authorities and capacity building in a way that is helpful,” she said.

Source: Bloomberg

  1. All_has_An _END_. says

    So now the Empire of Chaos is sending toys to confront the Dragon.
    Wow , what a great Strategy, the US Hubris is getting bigger and bolder lol

  2. jm74 says

    Isn’t that supposed to be the job of local states and if considered a conflict zone then the UN. US trying to take over the functions of the UN and have done everything possible to discredit the UN by violating International Laws and UN Mandates. Unless the US is put on a leash then there actions could lead to a major global conflict.

  3. Séamus Ó Néill says

    And all this bullying will continue as long as they’re allowed to continue printing their valueless fiat dollar. They haven’t, in reality, paid for anything since 1971….the rest of the world carries them and pays for their moronic and psychopathic war crimes.

  4. John C Carleton says

    There has always beens something in the water and air of DC, which causes those who spend too much time there to go criminally insane.

    See, a normal non mad as a hatter person, would understand ones coast guard, is to guard ones own coast.
    Not another countries coast, halfway around the world, who don’t want your ignorant, deranged butt sailing around their coast, endangering THEIR coast guard.

  5. JustPassingThrough says

    Definitely a threat. In the sense of a navigation hazard. lol
    Is this a foto of the crew or of a group of visiting high school students?

    USCGC Stratton -wikipedia

    Propulsion: Combined diesel and gas
    Speed: 28+ knots
    Range: 12,000 nm
    Endurance: 60 days

    Complement: 113 (14 officers + 99 enlisted) and can carry up to 148 depending on mission

    Sensors and processing systems:
    EADS 3D TRS-16 AN/SPS-75 Air Search Radar
    SPQ-9B Fire Control Radar
    AN/SPS-73 Surface Search Radar

    Electronic warfare & decoys:
    AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
    2 SRBOC/ 2 x NULKA countermeasures chaff/rapid decoy launcher

    1 x MK 110 57mm gun a variant of the Bofors 57 mm gun and Gunfire Control System
    1 × 20 mm Block 1B Phalanx Close-In Weapons System
    4 × .50 caliber machine guns
    2 × M240B 7.62 mm machine guns

    Armor: Ballistic protection for main gun
    Aircraft carried: 1 x MH-65C Dolphin MCH and 2 x sUAS [2]
    Aviation facilities: 50-by-80-foot (15 m × 24 m) flight deck, hangar for all aircraft

Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.