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China’s ‘Monster’ Coast Guard Ship Resumes Patrols in Malaysian EEZ Waters?

"Both Chinese Coast Guard vessels, 5403 and CCG 5901, have been conducting intrusive patrols in the oil and gas fields of Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia for over a month," Powell stated via his X account (formerly known as Twitter) @GordionKnotRay.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — For the past month, two Chinese coast guard ships have reportedly been ‘loitering’ in the waters of the South China Sea, conducting patrols around gas and oil fields belonging to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

International researcher Ray Powell, who brought attention to the matter, identified one of the ships as CCG 5901, also known as the ‘Monster’ due to its massive size.

 “Both Chinese Coast Guard vessels, 5403 and CCG 5901, have been conducting intrusive patrols in the oil and gas fields of Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia for over a month,” Powell stated via his X account (formerly known as Twitter) @GordionKnotRay.

He mentioned that the ‘Monster’ Coast Guard ship from China often disables the Automatic Identification System (AIS) when entering the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of any country to ensure its location cannot be tracked by the public.

Until now, there has been no official statement from local maritime authorities regarding Powell’s allegations.

Monster
(kredit @GordionKnotRay)

 

Powell, an international researcher focusing on ‘Gray Zone’ activities conducted by Chinese Coast Guard ships in the South China Sea.

Last February, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly opposed the presence of the ‘Monster,’ which violated its sovereignty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in Vanguard Bank.

The ‘Monster’ Coast Guard ship from China is no stranger to Malaysian authorities due to its frequent intrusions into Malaysia’s EEZ, particularly near Luconia Shoals (Beting Patinggi Ali), rich in oil and gas resources.

China has two ‘Monsters’ in its fleet of coast guard ships.

These ‘Monsters’ are Zhaotou-class coast guard ships, each weighing 12,000 tons.

Built by Jiangnan Shipbuilding in Shanghai, both ‘Monsters’ are the largest coast guard ships in the world, surpassing Japan’s Shikishima-class coast guard ships, which weigh over 9,000 tons.

Monster

Previously, China’s largest coast guard ships were around 4,000 tons, but the presence of the ‘Monster’ represents a power surge for its coast guard in further bolstering its ‘illogical’ claims over more than 80 percent of the South China Sea.

According to Chinese media, the plan to build two Zhaotou-class or ‘Monster’ coast guard ships began in 2012, several years before the Chinese Coast Guard was established under the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) of the country.

The existence of China’s giant coast guard ships became apparent when the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), which owns Jiangnan Shipbuilding, announced in 2013 that it had been awarded a contract to build these Zhaotou-class coast guard ships.

The first ‘Monster’ ship was completed in 2014 and a year later, in March 2015, it successfully conducted its first voyage to the East China Sea.

The second ‘Monster’ ship was completed in 2016 at Jiangnan Shipbuilding and a year later began its first voyage to the South China Sea.

With a weight of 12,000 tons, it far surpasses the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga-class cruisers of the United States Navy, which weigh between 7,000 and 9,000 tons.

Monster

Its large size allows the ‘Monster’ to carry more supplies, enabling it to operate at sea for longer periods.

The Zhaotou-class coast guard ship, or ‘Monster,’ is equipped with a main 76mm gun, two 30mm guns, and two anti-aircraft machine guns, as well as two Z-8 helicopters (one on deck and one in the hangar) and several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

Powered by engines supplied by MAN (before the European Union imposed sanctions), the world’s largest coast guard ship is capable of sailing at speeds of up to 25 knots, with an operational range of between 10,000 nautical miles and 15,000 nautical miles.

Due to its massive size for a coast guard ship, the presence of ‘The Monster’ in any waters, including the South China Sea, always attracts attention, as was recently seen in Malaysian EEZ near Luconia Shoals.

Because of its immense size, its presence indeed ‘intimidates’ many parties, especially other coast guard ships from other countries, which can be likened to ‘small fish’ when compared to the size of these two Zhaotou-class ships.” — DSA

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