|Georgian Coast Guard|
საქართველოს სანაპირო დაცვა
|Formed||July 16, 1998|
|Operations jurisdiction||Georgia (country)|
|Headquarters||Batumi naval base|
|Parent agency||Border Police of Georgia|
|Vessels||44 vessels in total|
The Georgian Coast Guard (Georgian: საქართველოს სანაპირო დაცვა) is the maritime arm of the Georgian Border Police, within the Ministry for Internal Affairs. It is responsible for the maritime protection of the entire 310 km (190 mi) coastline of Georgia, as well as the Georgian territorial waters. The primary missions of the service are administration of the territorial waters, marine pollution protection, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, port security and maritime defense. The former Georgian Navy was absorbed into the Coast Guard in 2009.
The Georgian Navy (Georgian Naval Forces; Georgian: საქართველოს სამხედრო საზღვაო ძალები, sak’art’velos samkhedro-sazghvao dzalebi) was a branch of the Georgian Defense Ministry armed forces until 2009, when it was merged with the Coast Guard and transferred to the Ministry for Internal Affairs. Before the 2008 South Ossetia war, the Georgian Navy consisted of 19 vessels and 531 personnel of which 181 were officers, 200 NCOs, 114 conscripts and 36 civilians.
The headquarters and a principal Coast Guard base are located at the Black Sea port of Poti. A second smaller base is in Batumi, Adjaria. Besides the Poti-based force, the Coast Guard also includes a special counter-terrorist Detachment. Maritime surveillance radar stations are maintained at Anaklia, Poti, Supsa, Chakvi, and Gonio, providing coverage of all territorial seas.
As of 2021, the commander of the Georgian Coast Guard is Captain Ramaz Papidze.
Despite Georgia's location at the Black Sea coast and historical association with maritime commerce, it has never actually possessed any sizable fleet. The first attempt to build a modern navy dates to the country's short-lived independence as the Democratic Republic of Georgia from 1918 to 1921. The Georgian Navy at that time consisted of a flagship, several sailing-boats, and a few tugs commandeered from Russian owners during the Russian Civil War. The 1921 Red Army invasion brought the nation-building to an end and Georgia became part of the Soviet Union. By 1990, Georgia's coastal waters had been controlled by the Poti-based 184th Coast Guard Brigade of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. Smaller bases were located at Ochamchire, Batumi, Anaklia, and Sukhumi. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Poti brigade was completely withdrawn from Georgia in 1992, having left behind only six vessels. However, the Russian border guards continued to patrol Georgia's coastline until 1998.
In contrast, the Georgian Coast Guard, which is part of the Border Police and subordinate to the Interior Ministry, has developed rapidly into one of the most effective forces in Georgia today. The formation of the Coast Guard started in 1998, when the first naval division was established within the State Border Defense State Department of Georgia (directly under the Office of the President). At the same time, the first and the second naval divisions were founded in Poti and Batumi. The command structure made these units a military element of the Border Guard, adjunct but without clear maritime experience.
On July 16, 1998 the 1st Naval Division of the State Border Defense State Department of Georgia started patrolling of the maritime state border of Georgia. The vessels had been donated by Ukraine and Turkey, in varying states of seaworthiness. Georgian Coast Guard Day is celebrated on July 16 of each year.
Immediate support for development of the Coast Guard came by way of the United States Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement (GBSLE) Program, managed by the U.S. Customs Service with involvement of the U.S. Coast Guard. Georgian maritime personnel had begun to attend technical and officer training schools in the U.S. in 1997, an initiative that then expanded. The first infrastructure assistance project to be completed was the surveillance radar station at the terminus of the Supsa oil pipeline in 1999.
The United States Coast Guard deployed a Long Term Training Team to Georgia in 1998, based in Poti. Over the next five years the team offered training, mentoring and maintenance for the Georgian Coast Guard personnel and infrastructure. Two 40-foot SeaArks and two USCG Point-class cutters were transferred to Georgia. Arriving in 2000 and 2002, the ex-Point Countess and ex-Point Baker became the workhorses of the fleet. Renamed Tsotne Dadiani (P210) and General Mazniashvili (P211), the cutters created a technical bridge that served well until Georgia began to develop and acquire new vessels in 2007 and 2008. A second coastal radar was brought online in Poti in 2002. Overlapping Supsa coverage to the south, Georgia now could monitor territorial waters from Abkhazia region to Adjaria region.
Internally, the naval division remained ill funded, ill-defined and challenged by its organizational role as simply another Border Guard element. Due to the importance of the obligations to control the maritime border, and with increasing capabilities, a reform process was begun in 2002 to create equality and organizational efficiency for the Coast Guard.
Admiring the model of the United States, and supported by the GBSLE Maritime Advisor and Georgian colleagues, Georgian Captain Third Class Ramazi Papidze crafted a functional Coast Guard for Georgia. Implementing a plan based on the threats, missions, tactics and current/planned resources, Papidze developed a structure that was equal within the Department to the Border Guard, and that divided responsibilities inside the Coast Guard between operational forces led by an Operations Directorate and Resources Management led by an Administration Directorate. The service would have a majority independent budget and autonomous responsibility for the conduct of its missions. Innovative and forward looking, the proposal included necessities of Georgian legislation, culture and tradition. Clearly a Georgian organizational model, in April 2003 the Main Office of the Coast Guard was established within the State Border Defense State Department of Georgia. This was the most major reform of a military element in Georgia to date, and set the Coast Guard on a path of professionalization and operational success.
Shortly after the announcement Major General Davit Gulua was named as the first Head of the Coast Guard, while continuing his duties as Deputy Chairman of the Department.
In 2005, the State Border Defense Department of Georgia became a subordinate agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia with the significant increase of the status and functions of the Coast Guard.
In December 2006, the MIA State Border Defense Department was transformed into a law-enforcement agency – the Border Police of Georgia. Relevant changes were made in the Coast Guard as well; it now had the status of a department. The Head of the Department became at the same time the Deputy Head of the Border Police of Georgia.
|Rank group||General/flag officers||Field/senior officers||Junior officers||Officer cadet|
| Georgian Coast Guard
|კონტრედმირალი (ქვედა ნახევარი)
K’ont’redmirali (kveda nakhevari)
|კაპიტანი პირველი წოდება
K’ap’it’ani p’irveli ts’odeba
|კაპიტანი მეორე წოდება
K’ap’it’ani meore ts’odeba[note 1]
|კაპიტანი მესამე წოდება
K’ap’it’ani mesame ts’odeba
The Georgian Coast Guard fleet consisted of:
|Class (type)||In service||Notes|
|Turya-class torpedo boat||1|
|Muravey-class torpedo/patrol boat||3|
|La Combattante II-class fast attack/missile boat||1||Dioskuria |
|Matka-class missile boat||1||Tbilisi |
|Stenka-class patrol boat||2||Batumi |
|Point-class cutter||2||General Mazniashvili |
|MRTP 34 fast attack/patrol boat||2|
|Akneta-class patrol boat||1|
|Dilos-class Patrol craft||2|
|AB-25-class patrol craft||1|
|Zhuk-class patrol Boat||9|
|Kaan 33-class patrol boat||1|
|Island-class patrol boat||2||Ochamchire |
|Amphibious Landing crafts|
Following the 2008 conflict with Russia, it appears that Georgia was able to recapitalize at least a portion of its fleet. The Coast Guard cutter Ayety (former German minesweeper Minden) and naval ship Tskaltubo, which had been scuttled in the port of Poti, were both raised. Judging by recent photographs, it appears that Ayety has been returned to active service as a training platform at the base in Poti. Tskaltubo, however, suffered much more extensive damage than Ayety, and her return to active service remains questionable. She is currently in dry dock.
The Coast Guard vessels which had sortied to Batumi in August 2008 were able to return and take up duties soon after Russian forces left Poti. These vessels remain in service in 2010. Additionally the Coast Guard vessels homeported in Batumi in 2008 remain active.
As a new acquisition, and contracted prior to August 2008, the Georgian Coast Guard has placed one Turkish built MRTP-33 patrol/fast attack boat, P-24 Sokhumi, into service. At least one more ship of this class is reportedly on order. These vessels are multi-mission capable so as to serve the diverse needs of the Coast Guard. The heaviest armament seen on these ships are 25-30mm cannon.
Georgia's Coast Guard also still has at least five of the smaller patrol boats armed with ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns that survived the conflict with Russia.
From 2016 to 2018 the United States gifted four of its Island-class patrol boats to Georgia.
|Island-class patrol boat||United States||Cutter|
2 ships gifted by the US. renamed Ochamchire and Dioskuria.
|Point-class cutter||United States||Cutter||2 ships in service.|
|AB-25-class patrol craft||Turkey||Patrol vessel||1 ship in service, renamed Kutaisi.|
|Kaan 33-class patrol boat||Turkey||Patrol vessel||2 ships in service.|
|Dilos-class Patrol craft||Greece||Patrol vessel||2 ships in service, renamed Mestia and Iveria.|
|Zhuk-class patrol boat|| Soviet Union
|Patrol vessel||7 vessels in service, some armed with ZU-2-23.|
|Project 18639|| Soviet Union
|Patrol vessel||3 vessels in service|
|Mk 38 25 mm chain gun||United States||Chain gun||Used on Island-class|
|Bofors 40 mm gun||Sweden||Autocannon||Used on AB-25-class patrol craft|
|Oerlikon 20 mm||Switzerland||Autocannon||Used on AB-25-class patrol craft|
|ZU-23-2||Soviet Union||Anti-air Autocannon||Mounted on various ships.|
|DShK||Soviet Union||Heavy Machine Gun||Used on some vessels.|
|M2 Browning||United States||Heavy Machine Gun||Used on Island-class.|