Two new marine environmental response units were established in Hawaii earlier this month, via ceremonies for the Marine Environmental Response Regional Activities Center (MER RAC) and Illegal Unreported Unregulated Fisheries Center of Expertise (IUUF COE).
The Coast Guard said in an Oct. 23 announcement that Vice Adm. Andrew Tiongson, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area and Rear Adm. Jo-Ann Burdian, Assistant Commandant for Response Policy, presided over the ceremonies on Fort Island, Hawaii, on Oct. 11.
The intent, according to the Guard, is to encourage sustained, long-term engagement with partner nations within the Indo-Pacific.
“These new detachments, strategically positioned here in Hawaii will fulfill exactly what the Indo-Pacific Strategy directs.” Tiongson said in a statement.
The IUUF COE will serve as the international engagements arm for combatting illegal fishing activities in the Indo-Pacific, and further promote regional coordination to combat IUUF and better equip partner nations. The intent of the IUUF COE is to increase maritime domain awareness, exchange valuable information, increase interoperability, and share best practices related to IUUF activities, Coast Guard officials said.
The MER RAC, created to assist Indo-Pacific countries with preparing for and responding to marine pollution incidents, will provide subject matter experts to engage with regional response personnel and enhance preparations for national incidents within the region for the Coast Guard’s Pacific partners.
Both units, according to the Coast Guard, will focus on in-person engagements to conduct subject matter exchanges, capacity assessments and unclassified information sharing with partner nations to complement collective efforts from Coast Guard training teams and establish organic methods in the global approach to combatting IUUF and assist in preparing for natural and man-made disasters.