Chinese war ships spotted in Bering Sea

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U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball

The U.S. Coast Guard encountered four People’s Republic of China military ships in the Bering Sea on Saturday and Sunday.

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball detected three Chinese vessels approximately 124 miles north of the Amchitka Pass in the Aleutian Islands, and an HC-130J aircrew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak detected an another Chinese vessel approximately 84 miles north of the Amukta Pass.

On Sunday, word of the Chinese vessels began appearing on social media, but the Coast Guard had no comment at the time.

All four of the People’s Republic of China vessels were transiting in international waters but still inside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the U.S. shoreline.

“The Chinese naval presence operated in accordance with international rules and norms,” said Rear Adm. Megan Dean, Seventeenth Coast Guard District commander. “We met presence with presence to ensure there were no disruptions to U.S. interests in the maritime environment around Alaska.”

The Chinese vessels responded to U.S. Coast Guard radio communication and their stated purpose was “freedom of navigation operations.” Coast Guard cutter Kimball continued to monitor all ships until they transited south of the Aleutian Islands into the North Pacific Ocean. The Kimball continues to monitor activities in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone to ensure the safety of U.S. vessels and international commerce in the area.

The Coast Guard, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, was fully aware of and tracked the Chinese naval presence, the Coast Guard said in a statement. In September of 2021 and 2022, Coast Guard cutters deployed in the Bering Sea also encountered Chinese surface action groups. There were also several Chinese and Russian ships spotted in 2023.

The Kimball patrolled under Operation Frontier Sentinel, a Coast Guard operation designed to meet presence with presence when strategic competitors operate in and around U.S. waters. The U.S Coast Guard’s presence strengthens the international rules-based order and promotes the conduct of operations in a manner that follows international norms.

Coast Guard Cutter Kimball is a 418-foot legend class national security cutter homeported in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sen. Dan Sullivan spoke about the matter on Thursday, after being briefed by the Commandant of the Coast Guard.

“I applaud the Coast Guard for sending an aircraft and a National Security Cutter to track this naval task force. Our military needs to be ready for increasing Chinese, and joint Chinese and Russian military activity near Alaska’s coast,” Sullivan said.

He also met Wednesday with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Brown and raised the issue of “how America must be much more prepared for the increasing activity in the Arctic, and to also let Alaskans know that our military is on the job protecting our state and our country,” Sullivan said.

31 COMMENTS

  1. Our response capability seems weak until you realize that it’s all about an air response. And i wouldn’t be surpised to know we keep a couple subs around the entrances to the poles.

  2. Walker et al flirted with disaster, now look! Was the cash former governor walker’s wife worth all this? Truly sold us out.

  3. Wow. Maybe the coast guard can impound the ship, crew, and cargo before letting them go with no charges. Oh wait, they only do that when chinese fishing vessels encroach on US territorial waters

  4. It’s all fun and games until AST shows up… That’s when commercial fishing enforcement kicks in… I wouldn’t want to be them… +++

  5. Eventually the DoD will need to begin deploying if not home stationing elements of the Navy in or around Alaska. While to USCG is an outstanding service they lack the firepower in their ship born arsenal to compete against a more robust China and Russian naval presence. I do believe you will see in the not too distance future more and more presence of the Chinese’s Navy in the Artic waters as they claim to be an Artic Nation even though none of their land mass touches the Artic.

  6. Nothing to see here folks.
    Leave it to the civilians pointing out the chinese “weather baloons” floating across US defense bases taking selfies and sending them to their partner in the whitehouse soundly sleeping in his hospital bed with siderails to keep him off the floor.

  7. The US needs to rapidly increase production of fast attack submarines as well as increase production and deployment of frigates.
    Additionally, ramping up production of multiple ice breakers is essential.

    • Did you not read the part about but still inside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the U.S. shoreline. Pull off your blinders.

      • LAS – Do you even know what the EEZ acronym stands for? Obviously not. It means Exclusive Economic Zone which can still be in International Waters. I doubt that these military ships were engaged in commercial fishing activities or drilling for oil. Perfectly legal for them to be transiting the area. Our Navy does it all the time. Put your blinders back on. That’s all!

  8. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if the Chinese vessels secretly launched small submersibles from the ship to gain access to our shores. I really hope we have active sonar working just offshore.

    • Yep!! I was there when it started closing. It was all a boondoggle nobody wanted to happen but one person (The Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Adak). The commanding officers of the other bases on that island still had missions and foresaw the rise of China in the not so distant future. They weren’t consulted on the base closure though. Too much had happened and doing so would have made the Navy look like a bunch of fools in front of congress. Forget Nome and the other tentative sites for potential navy bases on the mainland. Adak is your best bet. It’s got its own built in security, and the servicemembers can do what needs doing without involvement with local communities, restrictions, etc. Shipping materials and supplies is a big cost, but it would be similar or even more expensive for bases in other areas of the Bering/Chukchi/Beaufort sea coastline. At least with Adak you have a location that has much of the infrastructure in place, has a nice flightline, a port that can be open 365 days a year, and provides quick access to the Arctic. Since it’s never iced-in subs, ships, barges can go in and out of that port year-round. That’s a big plus.

    • Clarification:
      I wrote “The commanding officers of the other bases on that island still had missions and foresaw the rise of China in the not so distant future. They weren’t consulted on the base closure though. Too much had happened and doing so would have made the Navy look like a bunch of fools in front of congress.”
      What I meant to write was “The commanding officers of the other bases on that island still had missions and foresaw the rise of China in the not so distant future. They weren’t consulted on the base closure though. By the time those other commanding officers were consulted too much progress (signatures/discussions/politicking) had been made towards closing down the Naval Air Station (needed to support the other commands on Adak) and any attempt to alter the closeure of NAS Adak would have made the Navy look like a bunch of fools in front of congress. To save face the Navy scrapped everything. What a waste. I had a personal conversation with the command masterchief at the Naval Security Group Activity (a different base on the north end of Adak Island) and he just shook his head and told me they were all fools and we’ have to be re-opening the bases in about 20 or 30 years to counter the Chinese threat. This was in January 1994.”

    • Ask the NAS Adak Commanding Officer. His name was Captain “Corky” Caldwell. As I understand it he took a twilight billet at Elmendorf AFB (Now JBER), and then transitioned into management at the Ted Stevens International Airport. He’s the guy who got those bases closed.

  9. The docrine of an “international rules-based order” created, interpreted and enforced exclusively by the US and its’ proxy neutered Euro poodles is a concept for which has long since sailed. Industry was the basis for our wealth, strength and national security. We chose to remain meekly silent as our industry was relocated overseas, primarily to the PRC. The obvious and unavoidable consequences of national impoverishment and enrichment of the PRC inevitably followed. We were told to be content as a service based economy, ie, life as indentured servants to our ruling elites represented by our Uniparty politicians. It makes sense the Chinese would keep an eye on their unstable, moronically managed, nuclear armed neighbor, as they are now becoming wealthy and wish to stay that way. There is far more Chinese and Russian volume and value of goods on the Pacific sea lanes than ours.

  10. Tora Tora Tora happened while the USA slept. Thank you MRAK for helping us awake. I will be calling Sullivan and Lis-ard about a stronger Naval presence.

  11. I’m not overly confident in our current abilities to even defend our country. Our commander and chief is an arrogant wimp bureaucrat. He has done nothing but suck the tax payers tit his entire working life. It’s actually pathetic. Amazing the stammering fool doesn’t even have the decency to know when enough is enough. This is the guy with the red phone and the nuclear code. Can’t even carry on a conversation. The enjoyable part of this is he is now getting what thump has had thrown at him for the last 8 years let’s see if he can take it. I’m
    Betting not.

      • The same incompetent and corrupt Secretary of Defense and the joint chiefs who brought us the Ukranian and Afghanistan war disasters, with no shake up or anyone held in account. Who are also recklessly and dangerously escalating tensions with Russia and China, which could lead to the need for responding to a nuclear exchange. Or worse, in a desperate reaction to losing this latest war, delude themselves into trying to “win” a first strike.

  12. Do we really want Coast Guard vessels as the response to Chinese and Russian Navy vessels in the Bering Sea? Seems to be unequal weaponry. Time to reopen the Adak Naval Base.

    • It certainly makes sense to build/operate existing bases on our own territory. Closing the +/- 180 bases located overseas and redeploying our military to physically and actively defend our own borders is critical for real national security. The Bering Sea are international waters and there is no lawful “response” needed or necessary towards vessels of other nations sailing on them. We are blessed that despite being actively engaged in an undeclared and ever escalating war of aggression against the Russian Federation, they have shown incredible restraint in avoiding retaliation.

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