USCG works with Saipan counterparts to sharpen maritime operational skills
SANTA RITA, Guam—The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a subject matter exchange with boating safety and customs counterparts on Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on March 21, 2023, to enhance maritime operations management.
Personnel from U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and USCGC Sequoia (WLB 215) with small boat station experience worked with the CNMI Department of Public Safety – Boating Safety and the CNMI Customs and Biosecurity – Marine Unit.
The exchange was based on the standards used by U.S. Coast Guard small boat stations nationwide and focused on administrative topics, such as completing unit organization manuals, standing orders, detailed duties, assignments, and watch schedules.
“The engagements were at no cost to our search and rescue and law enforcement partners,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christine Igisomar, U.S. Coast Guard FM/SG maritime adviser. “Future engagement topics will include navigation, training, personal protective equipment, and naval engineering. This engagement series will culminate in a search and rescue exercise in the CNMI, currently slated for August.”
The U.S. Coast Guard’s last Saipan-based search and rescue exercise took place in August 2022 with 40 CNMI participants from six CNMI agencies and eight Coast Guard members.
“The excellent participation, support, and free exchange of experience and ideas made for a successful endeavor,” according to Lt. Henry Dunphy, the chief of emergency management and force readiness at U.S. Coast Guard FM/SG.
That exercise simulated a response to a capsized kayak off Tanapag Harbor, leading to tabletop discussions on planning, safety, and communications, followed by search patterns and boat handling offshore the following day.
Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, personnel hold training and search and rescue exercises in Guam, the CNMI, and the Compact of Free Association states. They evaluate notification and response procedures and identify shortfalls in communication and coordination of response during SAR incidents. Each agency holds individual capabilities that complement each other’s efforts and bolsters the overall success of the SAR system.
U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam comprises nearly 300 personnel and provides a significant portion of the U.S. Coast Guard’s enduring regional presence in Oceania. These teams conduct the service’s six major operational mission programs: maritime law enforcement, maritime response, maritime prevention, marine transportation system management, maritime security operations, and defense operations.