One Ex-US Coast Guard Cutter Coming, Part 2

US Coast Guard cutter, Decisive, at her retirement ceremony on March 2, 2023. US Coast Guard.

SHAH ALAM: In a post in November, last year, Malaysian Defence wrote that the MMEA may well be getting an ex-US Coast Guard this year. This was based on a post by MMEA itself. The post stated that MMEA had a study on absorbing a single ex-US Coast Guard cutter.

The post:

Intriguingly, in a Facebook post by MMEA today (November 8) it was stated that the agency had look into absorbing at least one ex-US Coast guard cutter (an American term for this kind of vessel). This was mentioned in a post on the retirement ceremony for Rear Admiral Maritime Aminuddin Abdul Rashid.

The post stated that among his achievements in the MMEA were that he was the team leader for a suitability study on absorbing the US Coast Guard cutter – USCG Decisive. It stated that this will create a wider collaboration with friendly forces either locally or abroad.

Now we have confirmation that the US intends to transfer one US Coast Guard cutter – though it did not name the ship. The report by the US House of Representative Foreign Affairs Committee Report on Activities for month of December stated that:

This is basically the confirmation that the US is willing and intends to transfer the ship to MMEA. The ship itself is

Checks on the US Coast Guard website showed that Decisive– a Reliance class cutter – was laid in 1967 and commissioned in 1968. She was decommissioned from US Coast Guard on March 2, 2023, after a 55-year service.

The ships of the class are about 65 meter long with a beam of 10 meter. They are equipped with twin diesel engines, a helipad, and a crew of seventy-five. In US Coast Guard service, the ships are equipped with a single 25 mm cannon and two machine-guns

The crew of Decisive leaving the ship following her decommissioning ceremony on March 2, 2023. US Coast Guard.

It is interesting to note that since that Facebook post, MMEA has not said anything about the transfer. Will the current situation in the Middle East affect the transfer? I have no idea, really. That said the radar US gifted to us a few years back is already in service as do the MSA and the ScanEagle UAS.

HT to DM
— Malaysian Defence


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About Marhalim Abas 2192 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. it is good to confirm this

    But the irony…

    APMM decommissioned all the ex-vospers because they are too “old”

    But the WMECs are as old as the ex-vospers… but OTOH they are more capable of operating offshore by the virtue of their larger size.

    It is okay, if they are put through something like OP before commissioned. The hull are overbuilt, and it is not equipped with complicated electronics.

    I don’t mind if we get handful of WMECs, as intrim OPVs to use for 10-15 years before newer OPVs are built for APMM.

    More APMM operated OPVs are what we need for our current challenges with China Coast Guard, not Navy LMS Batch 2s.

  2. Even if the current value of the ship is noted, as usual for US EDA, the ship will be supplied to the recipient country for free. But the recipient country will be responsible for repair to serviceable status and cost to bring the ship back home.

    As a patrol vessel, USCG regularly operate the WMECs up to 60 days straight on patrol. Should be enough endurance to shadow encroaching Chinese Coast Guard vessels.

    my previous comments on this

  3. Tenkiu PMX! Hope he can use his close ties to wrangle more stuff, heck maybe a clutch of JLTV for free or at least close ally prices to meet our NMLTV requirement.

  4. When we do get this ship free, will it come with the weapons & sensors as mounted or we have to provide our own?

  5. The sensors will stay as it will cost us money to replace them though likely MMEA will get new radios for the ship. As for the guns, I think MMEA will take weapons with standard ammunition but will ditch the 25mm gun.

  6. JLTV is a brand new gear they wont pass it out for free or cheaply though there are many MRAPs ex Iraq and Afghanistan available. That said we have been offered these MRAPs before, we do not want them as well.

    As for the JLTV there is a company pushing them for the stated requirements but I think in the current situation it is a long shot.

  7. Just curious, why is it acceptable to receive a ship for the MMEA from the US but not from Japan? Especially in light of the current situation?

  8. Malaysian maritime zone, especially the malacca straits and approaches to and from Singapore is one of the busiest waterways in the world. But we don’t have any dedicated Emergency Tow Vessels in our fleet. We should have some under APMM, as large patrol vessels that can do emergency rescue, towing, firefighting and salvage.

    This can be used oil and gas OSVs, or dedicated ships build to OSV designs.

    We should have at least 3, 1 homeported in Port Klang, 1 in Kuantan and 1 in Bintulu.

  9. “but will ditch the 25mm gun.”
    So its likely there will be a tender for a new weapon mount going out soon once we accept the USCG offer altho its given MMEA will most likely go with their defacto standard of 30mm Aselsan SMASH or make do without any as with Pekan & Arau afaik.

    And if its not JLTV at least more of something else. Of course not the war weary & maint intensive OIF MRAPS.

  10. Within current APMM development expenditure (DE), we could create a Coast Guard as per lined out in Pelan Perancangan Strategik Maritim Malaysia 2040 (PPSMM 2040) which is to have :
    – 20 large OPV
    – 96 medium PV
    – 228 FIC/RHIB/RHFB/RIB below 20m in length

    APMM development expenditure for 2024 is allocated RM621 million (around USD130 million). Having around this level of allocation every year could give APMM around USD500-800 million budget for DE in each of the 5 year Rancangan Malaysia.

    Below is my proposed plan for APMM to 2040, based on DE allocation of around USD500-800 million per Rancangan Malaysia.

  11. Another sister ship Steadfast just decommissioned this month, I hope MMEA also eyed that cutter. It is also good if MMEA can get more if not all of this class cutter that planned for decommissioned.

  12. The SMASH guns were not bought via a tender exercise, AFAIK. I think if the 25mm gun is taken off it will not be replaced just like the ones on the two ex-Japanese ships.

  13. Hulubalang “But we don’t have any dedicated Emergency Tow Vessels in our fleet. We should have some under APMM”

    Jabatan laut already have a few if not mistaken

  14. @ marhalim

    ” I do think APMM will lease these vessels on case by case basis ”

    As a maritime nation that is straddling the world’s busiest waterways, and as a coast guard that aspires to be one of the best in the world, APMM not having its own Emergency Tow Vessels is a glaring omission. So far there is no major maritime disasters happening in malaysian maritime zone, but do we need a major maritime disaster to happen first before getting these type of ships?

    These ships can be built by local shipyards, or even bought used. It can be used as an OPV too, when not needed for rescue duties.

    Iceland Coast Guard bought one used

    @ Rock

    With our current predicament, I am for APMM to get as many Reliance-class WMEC cutters as possible. Combine it with the ingenuity of our local capability such as the OP programe led by TLDM Engineering, these ships could be an interim solution to the current lack of OPVs to counter the constant infringement of the Chinese Coast Guard.

  15. “it happened during Ismail Sabri tenure as PM.”
    Well kudos to PM Sabri then! And so we should expect even more from PMX much closer ties to Uncle Sam than Sabri ever had.

    “The SMASH guns were not bought via a tender exercise”
    Well it did come with the NGPC & OPV boats thus far, but if we were to arm this exUSCG boat we will have to buy a SMASH separately unless MMEA can reuse the weapons from delayed OPV2/3 to compensate. Of course they could also make do without any as I pointed out on Arau/Pekan.

  16. Good going but how about that remaining 2 OPV at Pulau Indah? Surely the govt via home ministry/MMEA did not pay lumpsum about 800 million to the builder like mindef have done with LCS right? Home Ministry via MMEA should outline a clear timeline for that remaining ships or else another bombshell will drop

  17. Yup…maybe thats the way to go in our ship building industry by being experts at refurbishing old warships. I am sure there are a lot of countries having budget problems like Malaysia and have to go for 40-50 year old warships and OPVs.

  18. As I said in a previous post, I guessed that the government had paid around RM400 million to THHE as part of the progress payment out of the RM700 plus contract. Not a bomb shell really as it is not like the RM14 billion needed to fix the LCS. I am guessing they need another RM400 million to finish the two OPVs so it will be around RM1 billion actually.

  19. @Firdaus
    “pay lumpsum like mindef have done with LCS”
    They did not do that for LCS either. The original project budget still remain about RM 3bil after RM 6bil was expensed out based on progressive stages of the builds.

  20. Well for LCS, govt/mindef/navy should pay BNS according to progress right? well that clearly not the case here eh? as for me a mere layman,simple math is if they already received 6 billion at least they should have finished the first two ships plain and simple.All this debacles already states in what 2 3 pac reports already.What? just because current govt bailed out BNS and named them LUNAS doesnt mean we can just let them be..someone need to answer and held responsible,prosecuted in this mega scandal.We need action and not talk only

  21. Your simple is based on one perspective. 6Bil out of 9Bil means it should have done 66% of build progress, but this is divvied to 5 hulls under construction. Understandably you might assume that with 66% at least 1-2 ships should be in water.

    But what if i told you the real cost of this project is RM 12Bil to 14Bil? Then it opens up a new perspective where based on budget expended, the build progress should expect about 50% done and no ships yet to launch.

    Yes this project was underfunded from the get go and even if things rans smoothly we would have ran out of money long before the last ship delivered. It would have been a matter of time the Govt to issue supplementary budgets to cover this shortfall on the quiet side had Najib Govt remained.

    “We need action and not talk only”
    From how this current Govt run things lately and the ministers they have, dont hope any from them.

  22. Good news given how short of hulls the MMEA is but the fact that we’re getting a hull 5 decades old is a glaring admission of how far below the curve we’ve fallen.

    Other issues are maintenance/support issues associated with a 5 decade old hull [even one in good condition] and the fact that it will be fitted with various components/parts we we don’t operate; adding to the already large mix the MMEA has.

    … – ”But the irony…
    APMM decommissioned all the ex-vospers because they are too “old”
    But the WMECs are as old as the ex-vospers”

    So? The FACs were much older than the Laksamanas but were in far better condition. The Vosper PCs were ”retired” mainly because they were ill suited for the role we assigned them. Intended for shallow or green water ops; we assigned them for EEZ patrols – as we did with the FACs; a role it had neither the range, endurance or seakeeping for. Ask anyone who’s ever served on them – as I have – and they’ll tell you what a lovely experience it was being in one and being caught in a rough storm.

  23. … – ”could be an interim solution to the current lack of OPVs to counter the constant infringement of the Chinese Coast Guard.”

    ”Could be” but might not be for the penny pinching bean counters who are on the perpetual look out for reasons not to spend. An ”interim solution” might turn out to be the only solution for the foreseeable future and might end up being replaced with no replacement.

    dundun – ”with PMX being buddies with Biden I hope we can get more freebies from daddy murrica”

    Such great mates; kindred souls; maybe even stored B-1s from AMARG.

  24. ” Ask anyone who’s ever served on them – as I have ”

    You served on the vospers? Really?

    I’ve sailed on one like 25 years ago… It is a boat, not solid ground. The seakeeping is adequate for what it is designed for. KD Sri Perak sinking is not due to the inherent ship design but due to water ingress of the front hatch, which should be watertight.

    The USCG WMEC is designed for offshore work, you can see from its high freeboard and its much higher bow, which is probably 3x the height of TLDM FAC bow.

  25. … – ”You served on the vospers? Really?”

    ”Ask anyone who’s ever served on them – as I have ”. That’s what I wrote and it’s self

    … – ”he seakeeping is adequate for what it is designed for.”

    It was designed for coastal patrols and we used them [like we did with the FACs] for extended EEZ patrols; a role it was never intended or designed for. We bought the 1st batch at time when there was only Malaya and the need to have them deploy eastwards led to various modifications, including stabilisers.

    ”KD Sri Perak sinking is not due to the inherent ship design”

    The XO of Kelewang is a friend. He said that sea conditions that day were so rough that everything not bolted was upside down and the wheel and various things were covered in puke.

  26. … – ”It is a boat, not solid ground.”

    What? I thought they were an extension of the Asian land mass.

    Whether it’s a boat, ship or anything which floats; all are designed for slightly different things. The Vosper built Kedahs, Sabahs and Keris were designed for coastal patrol. At the time we bought them; they were all we could afford and sustain. This is mentioned in Robert Thompson’s ; our 1st Defence Secretary post Merdeka.

    … – ”its much higher bow, which is probably 3x the height of TLDM FAC bow.”

    A higher freeboard gives you an idea to the requirements of a particular user. JMSDF ships all have high freeboards but they operate in the north Pacific which makes the South China Sea look like a tepid lake. In contrast FACs are intended for sea denial in a littoral environment; they stay at sea for brief periods.

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