12 January 2016
China has nearly finished a giant coast guard ship and will probably deploy it armed with machine guns and shells in the disputed South China Sea, the Global Times reported, dubbing the vessel “The Beast.”
China Coast Guard vessel 3901, with a 12,000 ton displacement, will carry 76 millimeter rapid fire guns, two auxiliary guns and two anti-aircraft machine guns, the paper reported, citing unidentified people and photos posted on the Internet.
It will be the second of China’s mega-cutters that are the largest coast guard vessels in the world, according to the Global Times. A similar boat entered service last year in the East China Sea, where China is separately involved in a territorial dispute with Japan.
The vessels show the increasingly blurred lines between China’s coast guard and its navy and may complicate efforts by nations such as the U.S. to prevent the territorial disputes in the South China Sea — one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes — from sparking clashes at sea.
… The hull number gives a clue as to where the new ship will be deployed, according to Collin Koh Swee Lean, an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. Numbers starting with two are assigned to the East China Sea branch of the coast guard, and those starting with three tend to head to the South China Sea.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 13/01/2016