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.
Trevor Hollingsbee was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and Senior Superintendent with the Hong Kong Marine Police. He is Baird Maritime's resident maritime security expert and columnist.