December 19, 2010: China is building 37 new large coast guard ("Marine Police") patrol ships. One is a 1,500 ton ship, one is 1,290 tons, six are 1,000 tons and 22 are 631 tons. The ships range in size from 66.5 meters to 90 meters in length. Speed ranges from 40-50 kilometers an hour. Armament is light, ranging from a quad 14.5mm machine-gun to small caliber autocannon. The crews, of 30-60 sailors, all have small arms. Crew quarters and most work areas are air conditioned. All ships carry one or more speed boats, for boarding parties. All have modern radars, navigation and communications equipment.
These new boats are desperately needed, because most of the several hundred patrol boats in use are old (30 or more years old) and inefficient (unreliable with large crews and low speed). The 1,290 ton ship recently entered service, and earlier this year, so did one of the 631 ton ships. The flagship of the marine police force is a 4,000 ton ship equipped with a helicopter.