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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Fast Response Cutter Conducts International Patrol to Increase Maritime Security in the Pacific

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) returned home to Guam following a successful 37-day, expeditionary patrol supporting Operation Blue Pacific and Operation 365 to prevent, detect, and suppress illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Oceania and strengthen bonds with partners throughout Micronesia.

In concert with regional fishery advisory and management organizations including the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), CGC Oliver Henry patrolled over 7,500 miles supporting the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and Palau.

During the patrol, the crew queried 21 foreign fishing vessels in partner Exclusive Economic Zones and boarded two vessels on the high seas generating vital information reports. These reports were shared with partner nations, their Maritime Surveillance Advisors, and the FFA Regional Fisheries Surveillance Center in a cooperative and regional effort to bolster maritime domain awareness and strengthen resource security.

“The high-seas boarding and inspections conducted by our crew ensure compliance with agreed-upon rules and norms to minimize the impacts of illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing activities in our region,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Holstead, the Coast Guard 14th District’s living marine resource officer. “These maritime security operations are to support our Pacific Island countries and territories’ ability to have an effective presence in and around their exclusive economic zones.”

The Oliver Henry also conducted joint exercises with the Maritime Wing of the Federated States of Micronesia National Police to demonstrate collaborative response abilities. These included formation steaming with FSS Independence and demonstrations of the Fast Response Cutter (FRC) capabilities including deployment of the 26-foot Over-the-Horizon boat via the stern launch system.

“This patrol continues to highlight the Coast Guard’s steadfast commitment to our partner nations in Micronesia,” said Lt. John Hamel, Oliver Henry’s commanding officer. “Our ability to conduct counter-Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated patrolling on the high seas and the Exclusive Economic Zones throughout the region showcases the versatile capabilities of the new Fast Response Cutters stationed in Guam. I am extremely proud of my crew for pushing the operational boundaries and working tirelessly to be a positive presence in the Pacific.”

The 154-foot FRCs, such as the Oliver Henry, are outfitted with new and advanced command, communications, control, computers, intelligence, and surveillance equipment and feature greater range and endurance compared to their predecessor, the 30-year old 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. FRCs are designed as multi-mission platforms ranging from maritime law enforcement to search and rescue.

FRCs represent the Coast Guard’s commitment to modernizing service assets and maintaining a strong presence and support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Read more at USCG

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