The crew of the Coast Guard cutter William Hart returned to Honolulu Feb. 27 after completing a 42-day patrol in Oceania in support of Operation Aiga.
Operation “Aiga,” the Samoan word for family, is designed to integrate Coast Guard capabilities and operations with America’s Pacific Island country partners in order to protect shared national interests, combat IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and strengthen maritime governance on the high seas.
“During the 8,616 nautical-mile patrol, the cutter’s crew conducted operations to counter IUU and strengthened relations with foreign allies,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.
On the first port call of the patrol at Kiritimati Island, Kiribati, the William Hart’s crew delivered COVID-19 personal protective equipment donated by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. The supplies included face masks, gloves and other protective gear to assist the island in their COVID-19 readiness and ensure the safety of its 7,000 citizens.
While in Avatiu, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, the crew conducted two bilateral shiprider boardings. One crew member from the William Hart was sent shore side to work with the Ministry of Maritime Resources for Rarotonga to assist in directing the cutter toward targets of interest.
Additionally, the crew executed a law enforcement subject matter expert exchange with the crew of Te Kukupa II, a maritime police patrol boat for Rarotonga, followed by cross ship tours for vital information and sharing of best practices.
During the William Hart’s port visit in Apia, Samoa, the crew conducted two bilateral shiprider boardings and investigations of targets within the Samoa EEZ (exclusive economic zone). While the cutter was underway with Samoan ship riders, two crew members went ashore to work with the U.S. Embassy in Samoa and assist with shore-side logistics.
Additionally, the crew participated in community engagement and outreach events, including ship tours for partner maritime organizations and students from the School of Maritime Training, and a beach clean-up with staff from the U.S. Embassy in Samoa.