New coast guard service for Myanmar

A 5-Series-class fast attack craft of the Myanmar Navy (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/KMK from Myanmar)

Myanmar’s navy has undergone a radical upgrade over the past decade. The country has, though, unlike most other Asian nations, lacked a dedicated coast guard service to undertake routine security and law enforcement tasks along its 2,000-kilometre coastline.

This long-standing gap in maritime capability was plugged, though, in early October, when a ceremony at the port of Thilawa in Yangon saw Myanmar leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing formally inaugurate the Myanmar Coast Guard (MCG). The new service is commanded by Brigadier General Ko Ko Kyaw.

Initial inventory of the MCG consists of four former Myanmar Navy vessels. Reports indicate that it includes two US-built PGM-39-class patrol craft, and an indigenously-constructed 5-Series-class fast attack craft. Heavier weaponry has been removed, and the vessels are each now armed with a number of machine guns.

See all the other news, reviews and features of this month’s Maritime Security Week right here.

Trevor Hollingsbee

Maritime security expert and columnist, Trevor Hollingsbee was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Senior Superintendent with the Hong Kong Marine Police, Assistant Secretary for Security in the British Hong Kong Government Security Branch, and Intelligence Analyst in the UK Ministry of Defence. As an independent defence and security analyst he has had some 1,500 articles on maritime security, and geopolitical topics, published in a range of international journals and newspapers. He is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute, and a past Vice-Chairman of the Institute’s Hong Kong branch.