The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Stratton returned to Alameda, California in March after a 20,348-mile patrol to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing on the high seas and in partner nations’ exclusive economic zones.
The Stratton crew worked with Pacific partner nations during its deployment, including Fiji, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the United Kingdom.
During the mission, crew from the Stratton boarded 11 vessels and found 21 violations, according the USCG.
Commander Steve Adler said that collaboration with partners and utilization of shiprider agreements gave them the ability to accomplish their mission to maintain regional stability and protect the fishing industry.
“By bringing aboard shipriders from Fiji, we were able to patrol their exclusive economic zones to better assist them in enforcing their maritime laws,” he explained.
In February, the Stratton boarded three shipriders from Fiji with representatives from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Services, the Fiji Ministry of Fisheries, and the Republic of Fiji Navy, who led bilateral enforcement efforts for Stratton to patrol their exclusive economic zones.
There is a shared interest for both Fiji and the United States, as well as other partner nations, to protect fisheries as they provide a renewable source of food and income to the Pacific nations.
The Stratton crew also used small, unmanned aircraft systems to increase the ship’s capabilities and further extend the cutter’s patrol area.
Stratton visited multiple countries while deployed, including Tahiti, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. While in Suva, Fiji, Stratton hosted a joint media engagement with the Fijian Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Defense, Manasa Lasuma, and the Fijian Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yogesh Karan.
While anchored in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Stratton also hosted an engagement and law enforcement demonstration in conjunction with U.S. Ambassador Erin McKee and representatives of Papua New Guinea: Chief Inspector Christopher Smith, Terry Udu, Moses Teng, Hiribuma Dabuma, MAJ Norbeth Fehi, and Ivan Salonica.
This discussion and demonstration of law enforcement operations and regional partnerships helped facilitate a future signing of a bilateral shiprider agreement between the United States and Papua New Guinea.