Taiwan coast guard deploys elite unit for high-speed intercepts of Chinese speedboats

Taiwan’s National Coast Guard Administration has deployed a team of elite special forces equipped with high-speed assault boats to intercept Chinese poachers using speedboats to evade larger coast guard vessels around islands close to the coast of China.

The Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch of the coast guard has dispatched the Special Task Unit to Dongyin Island, Taiwan’s northernmost territory, to combat an expected influx of Chinese poachers during the summer season.

Coast Guard Special Task Unit in M109 assault boats.
Coast Guard Special Task Unit in M109 assault boats, Matsu Islands, Taiwan. Picture: NCGA.

Fish poachers from the coast of China usually take advantage of calm sea conditions during the summer months to enter Taiwan’s territorial waters in the Matsu Island group, encroaching on the livelihoods of local fishermen, often using ecologically destructive fishing methods such as electrofishing.

The Coast Guard Special Task Unit is described as an elite special force, and equipment includes high-speed, highly maneuverable M109 assault boats. The M109 is capable of speeds up to 45 knots (83 kilometers per hour).

Unlike the normal bright orange coast guard uniform, the Special Task Unit wears dull grey combat-like fatigues designed for stealth, not visibility.

Members of Taiwan coast guard special task unit on intercepted Chinese speedboat
Members of the National Coast Guard Administration’s Special Task Unit on intercepted Chinese speedboat caught poaching in waters around the Matsu Islands, April, 2023. Picture: NCGA.

The Special Task Unit arrived in the Matsu Islands for training and familiarization in April. Between April 19 and 25, the unit intercepted three Chinese speedboats and arrested 10 people. The National Coast Guard Administration released video footage of a high-speed intercept, showing precision maneuvering, and highly-skilled personnel boarding a fast-moving fishing boat.

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