The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew conducted a port visit in Kolonia on Sept. 14 – 16, following a patrol across Oceania encompassing the Coral Sea and the exclusive economic zones of Papua New Guinea and Federated States of Micronesia.
This port visit marks the sixth stop while conducting operations in the Indo-Pacific theater, following several stops across Papua New Guinea and one in Australia, part of Operation Blue Pacific.
During their stop in Pohnpei, Oliver Henry’s crew hosted Chargé d’Affairs Alissa Bibb and her team and Assistant Director Youky Susaia Jr. of the FSM National Oceanic Resource Management Authority – Fisheries Compliance Division. Thye covered patrol highlights and discussed future opportunities. Susaia Jr. is also a 2020 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a classmate of Oliver Henry’s executive officer.
The Oliver Henry commanding officer visited the FSM National Police Maritime Wing headquarters for an office call with Cmdr. Steward Peter to discuss multilateral efforts. Finally, members of the cutter’s engineering team conducted a subject matter expert exchange with the crew of FSS Palikir, the last active Guardian-class patrol boat, on shipboard repairs and preventative maintenance.
“We appreciate the time and support from our Federated States of Micronesia partners and look forward to furthering our shared commitment towards living marine stewardship and maritime security,” said Lt. Freddy Hofschneider, Oliver Henry’s commanding officer. “As a proud Micronesian, it was an honor and privilege to revisit Pohnpei, especially knowing that the crew truly enjoyed their time around the island to immerse themselves in the deeply rooted culture and experience such a beautiful place.”
The U.S. Coast Guard maintains strong partnerships with the maritime forces in the region through extensive training and subject matter expert exchanges. FSM, also known as the Big Ocean State, has one of the world’s largest exclusive economic zones, with waters rich in sea life. FSM consists of four states —Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, and Kosrae—each has a mix of unique peoples, languages, and cultures and a total of more than 600 islands. FSM is a signatory to a Compact of Free Association with the United States. They are also a Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Association member and a party to the South Pacific Tuna Treaty.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s cutter fleet was last in the FSM in May, when the USCGC Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) made a contactless crew rest and re-fueling stop during their expeditionary patrol across Oceania. In December 2021, USCGC Sequoia (WLB 215), working alongside the Navy’s Underwater Construction Team Two (UCT-2), conducted operations to widen the channel at Kapingamarangi Atoll, which narrowed due to marine overgrowth. U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam also provides search and rescue support to FSM.
The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in Oceania as part of Operation Blue Pacific, working alongside Allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards. Op Blue Pacific seeks to strengthen partnerships and execute a mission to support maritime governance and the rule of law in the region. To this, we must understand, measure, and articulate regional influences and relationships and provide our crews with the best operational assets and support to get the mission done safely and return.
The 154-foot Oliver Henry is the 40th Sentinel-class fast response cutter. The ship was commissioned along with its sister ships, Myrtle Hazard and Frederick Hatch, in Guam in July 2021. In the time since, the crew has participated in several search and rescue cases, completed a counternarcotics patrol off Guam with the Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel Mizuho, and conducted sovereignty and fisheries patrols in the Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam area of responsibility.