Coast Guard entities from six nations, led by the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, gathered virtually for three days in mid-September for their annual forum summit, to discuss topics including the need for coordinated responses to challenges in the North Pacific.
Also under discussion was the Japan Coast Guard’s best practices and lessons learned in support of the Tokyo Olympics.
The North Pacific Coast Guard Forum, formed in 2000, comprise the coast guard and maritime law enforcement agencies of Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States.
Its main focus includes combating illegal trafficking, combined operations, emergency response, fisheries enforcement, information exchange and maritime security. A non-binding memorandum of cooperation signed by all participating nations governs its work.
Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, and the U.S. Coast Guard executive agent for the forum, said he was thrilled that coast guard leaders from all six nations made time to gather virtually from Sept. 14 through Sept. 16 to discuss their countries’ shared challenges in the North Pacific region. The U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, based in Alameda, California, oversees U.S. Coast Guard activities from the Western states to Asia and from the Arctic to Antarctica.
McAllister said the forum presents an invaluable opportunity to communicate best practices, learn from each other and share information on myriad topics including search and rescue, counterdrug, pollution response, illicit trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, among other topics.
By the conclusion of the summit, members had prepared a renewed memorandum of cooperation for signature by heads of the delegation and completed many final plans for this year’s multi-mission multilateral exercise, which the Canadian Coast Guard plans to host virtually in October.
Each participating nation hosts two annual weeklong multi-lateral meetings. The first is an experts meeting held each spring and the second is the summit meeting in the fall. The multi-mission multilateral exercise is the exercise component of the forum. South Korea has assumed host nation duties for 2022.