The US Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew on a routine patrol in the Bering Sea encountered People’s Republic of China naval vessels as well as Russian Navy warships sailing in a combined surface action off Alaska.
The cutter first spotted Chinese guided-missile cruiser Renhai CG 101, sailing approximately 75 nautical miles north of Kiska Island, Alaska, on 19 September.
The Kimball crew later identified two more Chinese naval vessels and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer, all in a single formation with the Renhai as a combined surface action group operating in the US Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
As a result, the Kimball crew is now operating under Operation Frontier Sentinel, a Seventeenth Coast Guard District operation designed to meet presence with presence when strategic competitors operate in and around US waters.
While the surface action group was temporary in nature, and Kimball observed it disperse, the vessel will continue to monitor activities in the region, the officials noted.
A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak C-130 Hercules air crew provided support to the Kimball’s Operation Frontier Sentinel activities.
In September 2021, Coast Guard cutters deployed to the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean also encountered Chinese naval vessels, including a surface action group transiting approximately 50 miles off the Aleutian Island chain.
“While the formation has operated in accordance with international rules and norms,” said Rear Adm. Nathan Moore, Seventeenth Coast Guard District commander, “we will meet presence-with-presence to ensure there are no disruptions to U.S. interests in the maritime environment around Alaska.”
Kimball is a 418-foot (127.4 meters) Legend-class national security cutter homeported in Honolulu, Hawaii.
At the beginning of this month, combat ships of Russian and Chinese naval branches practised joint searching and attacking mock enemy submarines within Vostok 2022 exercise.
The navies conducted joint tasks related to searching and destroying mock enemy submarines in the central part of the Sea of Japan.