USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) crew members learn how to use immersion suits during an abandon ship drill on the Stone in the waters south of Pensacola, Florida, on Dec. 23, 2020. Coast Guard crews constantly train to ensure they are ready for any emergency. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class John Hightower)

USCGC Stone Underway for First Patrol, Operation Southern Cross

The crew of the USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) departed from Pascagoula, Mississippi just ahead of Christmas, for a multi-month deployment to the South Atlantic countering illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing while strengthening relationships for maritime sovereignty and security throughout the region.

The brand new Legend-class national security cutter, one of the U.S. Coast Guard’s flagships, will provide a presence and support national security objectives throughout the Atlantic. This patrol is the cutter’s initial shakedown cruise following its delivery in November.

This the service’s first patrol to South America in recent memory, engaging partners including Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Portugal. The cutter also embarked an observer from the Portuguese navy for the operation’s duration.

Operation Southern Cross is conducted in conjunction with U.S. Southern Command, charged with managing operations in Central and South America by working collaboratively to ensure the Western Hemisphere is secure, free, and prosperous.

In September 2020, the Coast Guard released the Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported Fishing Strategic Outlook, which reaffirms our commitment to global maritime security, regional stability, and economic prosperity.

“The U.S. Coast Guard is committed to the protection of living marine resources. IUU fishing threatens the health of fish stocks and adversely impacts those who follow global norms and national laws. This is a global issue, and IUU is a problem too big for any one nation,” said Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. “Only by working together can we protect livelihoods, ensure ports remain economically productive, and support and sustainable fisheries industry. Stone’s patrol demonstrates our commitment to the established rules-based order while addressing IUU fishing wherever a Coast Guard cutter is deployed.”

Read more at USCG

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