USCG, FSM police work together to fight illegal fishing, strengthen skills
SANTA RITA, Guam—The U.S. Coast Guard and Federated States of Micronesia National Police conducted a successful at-sea engagement to combat illegal fishing in Yap State on March 16, 2023.
The crews of USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) and the FSS Tosiwo Nakayama (P901) conducted a joint patrol near Yap State in support of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency’s Operation 365, part of the FFA’s regional monitoring control and surveillance operations to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the Pacific.
“The crew enjoyed conducting a professional exchange including navigation and seamanship training during a close-quarters formation steaming with our colleagues aboard the FSS Tosiwo Nakayama before they pulled into Yap,” said Lt. Freddy Hofschneider, commanding officer of the Oliver Henry.
The Tosiwo Nakayama is currently FSM’s only active Guardian-class patrol boat. Under the Australian Pacific Maritime Security Program, Australia is delivering 22 Guardian-class Patrol Boats to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Lesté. They also provide additional training to enable nations to make the most out of this capability.
The FSM is a sovereign nation with full diplomatic relations, deep ties, and a cooperative relationship with the United States. They participate in an amended Compact of Free Association with the U.S., under which the FSM and the United States agreed that the U.S. has full authority and responsibility for defense and security matters relating to the FSM. Many FSM citizens also live, work, and study in the U.S. and voluntarily serve in the U.S. Armed Forces at per capita rates higher than many U.S. states.
“The ongoing partnership between the FSM and the U.S. Coast Guard seeks to enhance FSM’s sovereignty and capability to combat illicit maritime activity, particularly illegal fishing, to the benefit of all Pacific partners but with a focus on the people of the FSM and their economic and food security needs,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. “We appreciate the efforts of the National Police, the U.S. Embassy, and our Australian Pacific Maritime Security Program partners to make these shared multilateral operations possible to increase regional security and prosperity.”
The crew also leveraged time underway while on patrol in the FSM Exclusive Economic Zone for maintenance, Basic Engineering Casualty Control Exercises, and cutter boat training. The crew is on a four-week expeditionary patrol throughout Western Oceania.
The Oliver Henry is the 40th 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter named for Oliver T. Henry, Jr., an enlisted African American Coast Guard member first to break the color barrier of a then-segregated Service.
It homeports in Guam, working with U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, which comprises nearly 300 personnel to provide a significant portion of the U.S. Coast Guard’s enduring regional presence in Oceania.
Operation 365 is the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre’s overarching plan for Regional Monitoring Control and Surveillance operations. OP365 provides comprehensive support to regional surveillance and enforcement efforts in Pacific Island Countries on an ongoing basis. OP365 requires the concerted and consistent effort of all 17 Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency member nations and the four members of the Pacific Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group countries, Australia, France, New Zealand, and the United States, to be successful. (USCG)