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Monday, March 01, 2021

China's Fishing Tentacles Disrupt the Well-Being of the Rest of the WOrld

Interesting article at Indo-Pacific Defense Forum China’s distant-water fishing fleet harms developing countries’ economies, food security

The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) distant-water fishing fleet continues to harm developing countries through the loss of billions of dollars in revenues and by contributing to unsustainable levels of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, all of which threaten the livelihoods and food security of legitimate fishers and communities, according to a series of reports released in the past year. Having exhausted much of its fish stocks in domestic waters, the PRC has amassed the world’s largest distant-water fleet with close to 17,000 vessels, five to eight times more than previously documented, according to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), an independent global think tank.

The repory of ODI can be found here. Highlights:

  • With 16,966 vessels, China’s DWF fleet is 5–8 times larger than previous estimates.
  • Trawlers are the most common DWF vessel, and most vessels are in the Northwest Pacific.
  • Almost 1,000 Chinese DWF vessels are registered in other countries. The ownership and operational control of China’s DWF fleet is both complex and opaque.
  • At least 183 vessels in China’s DWF fleet are suspected of involvement in IUU fishing.
The image above is from the report.

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) for 27 January to 24 February 2021

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

In other news, the U.S. Coast Guard nabbed drug smugglers as reported in here

Crews aboard two Alameda-based Coast Guard cutters interdicted three suspected drug smuggling vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1 and seized more than 9,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $156 million.

Conducting the operations were the crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Munro (WMSL 755) and Bertholf (WMSL 750).

Munro's crew boarded a fishing vessel Jan. 26 suspected of smuggling illicit narcotics. Exercising a bilateral agreement with a partner nation, the boarding teams searched and discovered 1,300 pounds of cocaine concealed within the vessel.

Munro’s crew interdicted a second suspected drug smuggling vessel hours later after a maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious vessel and directed Munro’s crew towards it. Munro launched a helicopter aircrew and boarding teams, and together they interdicted a low-profile vessel. The boarding teams discovered 3,439 pounds of cocaine aboard the purpose-built drug smuggling vessel.

U.S. Coast Guard photos courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Midrats on Spreaker - Episode 582: The Future of European Naval Power with Jeremy Stöhs

Pre-recorded for your listening pleasure, Midrats Episode 582: The Future of European Naval Power with Jeremy Stöhs

Where is European naval power in 2021, what is shaping it, and where is it going?This week returning guest Jeremy Stöhs is with us to review the above issues as outlined in an exceptional report he produced for the Centre for Military Studies at the University of Copenhagen., "How High? The Future of European Naval Power and the High-End Challenge."Jeremy is the Deputy Director of the Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies and the editor for their journal, JIPSS.After service in the Austrian Federal Police in 2005-2010, he studied History and English/American Studies at the Universities of Graz, St. Petersburg (USA) and Marburg (GER) 2009-2015. He was a Defense Analyst at the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK) 2016-2019 and received his PhD in political sciences from Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, 2019. He is the author of "The Decline of European Naval Forces: Challenges to Sea Power in an Age of Fiscal Austerity and Political Uncertainty” (US Naval Institute Press, 2018).His research focuses on International Relations, Strategic Studies, U.S. and European Security and Defense Policy, Maritime Strategy and Security, Public Security.
Listen to "Episode 582: The Future of European Naval Power with Jeremy Stöhs" on Spreaker.

If you use Apple Podcasts, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

You can download the publication How High? The Future of European Naval Power and the High-End Challenge here.

Friday, February 26, 2021

It's a Busy Maritime World

From Marine Traffic, showing cargo ships, tankers and unknowns:

"UKMTO reports blast on Gulf of Oman ship"

An Israeli owned, Bahamian flagged car carrier has reported an explosion in the Gulf of Oman, as reported here:

A Bahamas-flagged ship, the MV HELIOS RAY, has been hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and a maritime security firm say.

"Investigations are ongoing. Vessel and crew are safe," the UKMTO's advisory notice said.

The incident occurred at 2040 GMT, it said, but gave no details about a possible cause.


Maritime security firm Dryad Global said the MV HELIOS RAY was a vehicle carrier owned by Helios Ray Ltd, an Israeli firm registered in the Isle of Man.

The ship was en route to Singapore from Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

Dryad Global report and analysis here:

Whilst details regarding the incident remain unclear it remains a realistic possibility that the event was the result of asymmetric activity by Iranian military. Such activity would be commensurate with current tensions and Iranian intent to exercise forceful diplomacy through military means within its immediate area of interest.
© Marcus-S

Friday Film: "This is Lakehurst" - Naval Air Station Lakehurst in the 1950's

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - Abbot and Costello "Robinson Crusoe" with Charles Laughton

On Midrats 21 February 2021 - Episode 589: Late Winter Free For All

Please join us at 5pm EST for Midrats Episode 589: Late Winter Free For All

After a week moving from the warm embrace of Valentines Day to the cold jolt of a nation wide arctic freeze, come join us this Sunday at 5pm Eastern for a live Midrats Free For All!

Open chat room, open phone, and open topic on the - mostly - maritime national security front.

From the new Biden DOD and State Department's first moves, to the ongoing efforts of the USA and our allies as we try to figure out what we need to do to ensure the global system that serves us all.

Come join us and if you don't like these topics, join in the live chat or even give us a call.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Poster from Navy History and Hertitage art collection

Friday, February 19, 2021

Modern TImes: Drones Take Out a Undersea Threat

The Republic of Singapore Navy kills a threat:

On 29 Jan 2021, a small underwater explosion occurred in the waters off our Southern Islands. It was barely noticeable, but it was a remarkable event.

The underwater explosion signified a successful neutralisation of an underwater threat by an unmanned surface vessel (USV) - a first in the world.

"It was exciting and satisfying to execute the deployment of a K-STER expendable mine disposal system (EMDS) against an underwater threat. After more than three years of development, and numerous rounds of planning and checks, we finally managed to achieve the successful launch and firing of an EMDS from an USV – a breakthrough in the deployment of USVs!" MAJ Lim Yoong Seet, Head of Readiness and Resource Section, 6 Flotilla shared.

Much more at Naval News here.

Also highlighted is the Singapore Armed Forces intent to upgrade its fleet to include a "Multi-Role Combat Vessel" described here as

Multi-Role Combat Vessel

The replacement of the RSN's Victory-class Missile Corvettes with the Multi-Role Combat Vessels (MRCVs) is proceeding as planned, with six MRCVs expected to be delivered by 2030. The MRCV employs key technologies such as configurable modular payloads and unmanned systems, allowing the vessel to function as a "mothership" for unmanned drones and vessels to conduct a range of missions from peace to war.

Picture from Singapore MINDEF.

Friday Film: "The Great War" (1956)