Bulker’s lodging quarters ‘uninhabitable’ after Portland fire

(PORTLAND, Ore.) — The U.S. Coast Guard is supporting Portland Fire & Rescue and other responding agencies after the 623-foot bulk carrier Breeze caught fire Tuesday while moored at the […]

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(PORTLAND, Ore.) — The U.S. Coast Guard is supporting Portland Fire & Rescue and other responding agencies after the 623-foot bulk carrier Breeze caught fire Tuesday while moored at the Temco LLC facility on the Willamette River.

The Coast Guard was notified of the fire at 3:10 p.m. and contacted Portland 911 dispatchers, who were already aware and had begun directing a response. Fire department crews worked with vessel crewmembers to extinguish the fire prior to Coast Guard personnel’s arrival on scene.

Portland Fire & Rescue photo via Twitter

Lodging quarters have been deemed uninhabitable as a result of the fire and these areas have been evacuated.

Coast Guard personnel with Sector Columbia River Incident Management Division and Marine Inspections have reported no observable marine pollution nor threat to the immediate marine environment.

The Coast Guard is working with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to arrange secure accommodations for the displaced vessel crew to temporarily reside ashore. Living quarters aboard the vessel must be deemed habitable by a qualified, certified inspector prior to the crew’s return.

Coast Guard marine inspectors, Liberian flag representatives and vessel class-specific technical inspectors will work to ensure the vessel is safe for operation and does not pose a risk to the crew, environment nor navigable waterways before it will be authorized to get underway.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the incident.

Watch standers will conduct roving patrols aboard the ship to ensure safety and security of the vessel and adjacent area.

The Coast Guard commended Portland Fire & Rescue and other local first responders for their efficient and professional response extinguishing the shipboard fire.

– U.S. Coast Guard

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Columbia River Fishing Vessel Investigated for AIS Violation

The U.S. Coast Guard is pursuing a civil penalty against a commercial fishing vessel for violating Automated Identification System (AIS) regulations near the mouth of the Columbia River. Coast Guard…

The U.S. Coast Guard is pursuing a civil penalty against a commercial fishing vessel for violating Automated Identification System (AIS) regulations near the mouth of the Columbia River. Coast Guard...

Coast Guard pursues maximum fine for AIS deactivation

(ASTORIA, Ore.) — The U.S. Coast Guard is pursuing a civil penalty against a commercial fishing vessel for violating automatic identification system (AIS) regulations near the mouth of the Columbia […]

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(ASTORIA, Ore.) — The U.S. Coast Guard is pursuing a civil penalty against a commercial fishing vessel for violating automatic identification system (AIS) regulations near the mouth of the Columbia River on Dec. 3.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River detected a commercial fishing vessel deactivating its AIS while underway near the mouth of the river in violation of 33 Code of Federal Regulations 164.46(d)(2).

The captain declined to accept the notice of violation, issued for $5,000. Now the case has been referred to a Coast Guard hearing officer, with a maximum penalty of $41,093.

As this remains an active investigation, the Coast Guard is not currently releasing the name of the suspected violating vessel.

AIS is a maritime navigation safety communications system adopted by the international community to help save lives and facilitate safe transit of navigable waterways. AIS automatically transmits vessel information to shore stations, other ships and aircraft. That includes vessel identity, type, position, course, speed, navigational status and safety-related information.

“AIS is essential for safe navigation and bolsters America’s security posture, beyond the requirements of the law, AIS helps keep mariners safe and our ports secure,” said Lt. Cmdr. Colin Fogarty, the enforcement chief for Sector Columbia River. “Particularly during crab season, weather and visibility are poor on the Oregon and Washington coasts. AIS permits vessels to show their location and avoid collisions. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard often sees mariners turning off their AIS during certain fishing seasons. Regardless of their reasons, the laws and regulations require the system be functioning and energized.”

The regulation (33 CFR 164.46) in part states that all self-propelled vessels, at a length of 65 feet or more, engaged in commercial service and operating on the territorial seas (within 12 nautical miles of shore) must maintain AIS in effective operating condition, which includes the continual operation of AIS and its associated devices (e.g., positioning system, gyro, converters, displays) at all times while the vessel is underway or at anchor, and, if moored, at least 15 minutes prior to getting underway, with limited exceptions.

Effective operation condition also includes the accurate input and upkeep of all AIS data fields. An AIS encoding guide has been provided to facilitate complying with this requirement.

“For safety and security, the Coast Guard is constantly monitoring vessels offshore in our waterways,” Fogarty said. “When we detect a vessel not following AIS requirements, we will pursue enforcement action. Five thousand dollars is a significant fine to pay for a secret crabbing spot, but it’s still cheaper than the safety of the crew. Our hope is that this instance will deter future violations throughout the community.”

– U.S. Coast Guard

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USS Nimitz Back in the South China Sea After Singapore Port Visit

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group departed Singapore on Thursday after a port visit and is now back in the South China Sea, the Navy announced on Friday. The Nimitz CSG – including carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and destroyers USS Decatur (DDG-73), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93), and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) – arrived in Singapore at […]

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) steams through the South China Sea. Nimitz in U.S. 7th Fleet conducting routine operations on Jan. 13, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group departed Singapore on Thursday after a port visit and is now back in the South China Sea, the Navy announced on Friday.

The Nimitz CSG – including carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and destroyers USS Decatur (DDG-73), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93), and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) – arrived in Singapore at Changi Naval Base on Saturday, a day before the Chinese New Year period, known as Spring Festival in China, began on Sunday. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) generally has a less intensive operational deployment during this time, similar to western navies during the Christmas holiday period.

Prior to its arrival in Singapore, the Nimitz CSG operated in the Philippine Sea and South China Sea, where it performed “maritime strike training, anti-submarine operations, integrated multi-domain and joint training between surface and air elements, and flight operations with fixed and rotary wing aircraft, according to a Navy news release. The Nimitz CSG deployed from the West Coast on Dec. 3 and chopped into U.S. 7th Fleet on Dec. 16. The two other ships that are part of the CSG, cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) and destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60), are currently operating independently in the Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean, respectively, according to Pentagon photo releases.

Also in the South China Sea is USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26), along with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, which also includes with USS Anchorage (LPD-23), left Naval Base San Diego, Calif., in November for a deployment to the Indo-Pacific. Anchorage wrapped up its participation in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)/Marine Exercise (MAREX) Sri Lanka 2023 on Thursday, according to a Navy statement.

The exercise began on Jan. 19 in Colombo at two Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) bases and also in the Laccadive Sea, according to a 7th Fleet news release.

“The exercise focused on increasing proficiency in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief (HADR), and maritime security capabilities,” the release reads.

The U.S. Navy sent Anchorage and the 13th MEU embarked to the sea phase of the exercise, while the Sri Lanka Navy sent two offshore patrol vessels – SLNS Gajabahu (P 626) and SLNS Vijayabahu (P 627), according to 7th Fleet. Sri Lanka’s air force, the Japan Maritime-Self Defense Force, and the Maldives National Defense Force also joined for the drills.

“Additional exercises conducted at sea included divisional tactics, visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS), replenishment-at-sea approaches, and reconnaissance and gunnery exercises. Helicopters aboard Anchorage successfully carried out VBSS exercises, embarkation, and disembarkation of personnel and material on the decks of the SLN ships involved in the sea phase,” according to the 7th Fleet release.

JS Suzutsuki conducted a bilateral exercise with the French Navy Charles de Gaulle CSG in the vicinity of Western Arabian Sea. JMSDF Photo

Nearby in the Indian Ocean, the French Navy’s Charles De Gaulle CSG continues its deployment after wrapping up the Varuna joint exercise with the Indian Navy on Jan. 20. The Charles De Gaulle CSG currently includes carrier FS Charles De Gaulle (R91), destroyers FS Forbin (D620) and FS Provence (D652), and replenishment ship FS Marne (A360).

Meanwhile, on Friday the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force issued a news release announcing that “Iron Fist 23” will take place from Feb. 16 to March 12 between the JGSDF and the U.S. Marine Corps’ III Marine Expeditionary Force.

The drills will take place near the JGSDF Hijyudai Maneuver Area on Kyushu, Tokunoshima Island and Kikaijima Island, both part of the Amani Islands lying between Kyushu and Okinawa and Camp Hansen, Okinawa, while aviation units will largely stage out of JGSDF Camp Takayubaru on Kyushu. JGSDF forces taking part in the exercise will be the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB), 1st Airborne Brigade, and 1st Helicopter Brigade, along with the Western Army Aviation Unit. The U.S. Marine Corps’ 31st MEU will participate, while the U.S. Navy and JMSDF will participate with the America ARG – which features amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6), amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD-20), and dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-48) – and LST JS Osumi (LST-4001), respectively.

According to the JGSDF news release, this Iron Fist is the first time the drills will take place with both III MEF and in the Western Pacific. The goal is to perform joint operations between Japan and the U.S.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment (MLR) is about to begin a training exercise, according to a Marine Corps news release issued on Friday.

“This will be the eighth exercise the MLR has participated in since re-designating last year,” Col. Timothy Brady, the commanding officer of the 3rd MLR, said in the release. “We’ve progressed from wargaming Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations in a classroom to now conducting EABO at a service-level training exercise operating as a Stand-in Force under a Division headquarters. MLR-TE gives us a chance to train hard, refine tactics and procedures, and continue to rapidly develop this force of the future.”

The Marine Corps plans to take lessons learned from the training event and apply them to Balikatan 2023 in the Philippines in April, according to the release.

In the Philippine Sea, U.S Navy ships from commander, Task Force (CTF) 70 and commander, Task Force (CTF) 71 finished the Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) drills, according to a separate news release from 7th Fleet.

“Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Japan (FDNF-J) SWATT 2023 was the first multi-international iteration of the exercise with participation from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF),” the release reads.

CNS Yuhengxing (798) Japanese MoD photo

For the U.S. Navy, cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), USS Antietam (CG-54) and USS Shiloh (CG-67), destroyer USS Rafael Peralta (DDG-115) and replenishment ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE-11) participated in the exercise, while destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG-178) joined for the JMSDF. From Jan. 15 through Jan. 23, Ashigara conducted tactical exercises with those U.S. ships and replenishment ship USNS John Ericsson (T-AO-194) from south of Kanto, near Okinawa, south of Shikoku Island, according to a news release the JMSDF issued Monday. A Friday JMSDF release said replenishment ship JS Oumi (AOE-426) conducted a replenishment exercise with Antietam on Thursday near Okinawa.

Also on Thursday, a Chinese Dongdiao-class surveillance vessel was sighted at 10 a.m. local time that day sailing northwest in an area 150 kilometers east of Miyako Island, the Joint Staff Office of Japan’s Ministry of Defense said in a news release. The hull number and image in the release identified the ship as CNS Yuhengxing (798) and the ship subsequently sailed northwest through the Miyako Strait into the East China Sea. The release noted that the PLAN ship had transited southeast through the Miyako Strait on Jan. 19, and that minesweeper JS Shishijima (MSC-691) and a JMSDF P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 5 based at Naha Air Base, Okinawa monitored.

Photos: U.S. Coast Guard Icebreakers Reaches Antarctica’s McMurdo Station

The U.S. Coast Guard’s heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 10) arrived in Antarctica this week as part of its annual resupply mission to McMurdo Station, the U.S. Antarctic Program’s…

The U.S. Coast Guard’s heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 10) arrived in Antarctica this week as part of its annual resupply mission to McMurdo Station, the U.S. Antarctic Program’s...

NTSB: Mate’s fatigue on watch led OSV to strike platform

​(WASHINGTON) — A company not adhering to its 12-hour work limit led to an offshore supply vessel (OSV) striking an oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, […]

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​(WASHINGTON) — A company not adhering to its 12-hour work limit led to an offshore supply vessel (OSV) striking an oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Thursday.

The offshore supply vessel Elliot Cheramie was on its normal route between Port Fourchon, La., and the oil and gas production platform VR-397A in the gulf on June 25, 2021​, with a crew of four and five offshore workers. While transiting, Elliot Cheramie struck the oil and gas production platform EI-259A. The contact resulted in four minor injuries and over $360,000 in damage to the vessel, platform and pipelines.

​​Elliot Cheramie’s mate and deck hand were assigned the overnight watch (midnight to noon) in the wheelhouse. The mate was steering the vessel in autopilot mode following the GPS track.

Elliot Cheramie underway, left, before the casualty, and platform EI-259A before the impact. Cheramie Marine and Cox Operating photos

The mate told investigators that he was “more tired than usual” and felt “groggy.” He stated he must have fallen asleep and when he woke up the platform was “dead ahead.” He attempted to avoid it, but the vessel struck the platform.

In the four days leading up to the contact, the Elliot Cheramie mate consistently worked for periods longer than the 12 hours recommended by the company’s fatigue management document. The day before the contact, the mate reported working for 17 hours with a portion of the work requiring high levels of physical exertion.

Although the deck hand set an alarm to wake himself for the watch, he slept through it and was not present in the wheelhouse at the time of contact. The deck hand’s duties would have included assisting the mate on the bridge navigation watch; however, other duties would have taken him away from the wheelhouse for extended periods of time.

The company’s safety management system recommended crewmembers be given at least 24 hours of notice before beginning night work, but the deck hand was assigned the watch when he arrived on board, only five hours before.

Based on the work and rest histories of the mate, the requirement in the company’s vessel operating procedures that licensed personnel “may not work for more than 12 hours in a consecutive 24-hour period” was not followed.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the contact was the company not adhering to its 12-hour work limit policy, which led to the fatigued mate falling asleep while on watch.

“In this casualty, and as the NTSB has previously noted in numerous commercial vessel casualties, crew fatigue was a significant causal and contributing factor,” the report said. “Company operational policies and requirements should incorporate and follow fatigue management best practices to ensure that crewmembers receive enough rest to adequately perform navigational, lookout, engineering, and other watch-stander duties. Additionally, companies should ensure that vessels are crewed with the appropriate number of trained personnel to safely perform operations without compromising work/rest schedules of off-duty watch standers. Companies and vessel captains should also actively monitor the watch schedules and any off-watch work performed by their crews to ensure that fatigue mitigation policies are adhered to, adjusting watch schedules accordingly for crewmembers at risk for fatigue.”

Marine Investigation Report 23-01 is available here. ​

To report an incident/accident or if you are a public safety agency, call (844) 373-9922 or (202) 314-6290 to speak to a watch officer at the NTSB Response Operations Center (ROC) in Washington, D.C. (24/7).

– National Transportation Safety Board

​​​

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Man dies in fall aboard boxship in Port of Los Angeles

(SAN PEDRO, Calif.) — A man died after falling about 50 feet from the superstructure of a containership Wednesday afternoon at the Port of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Fire […]

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(SAN PEDRO, Calif.) — A man died after falling about 50 feet from the superstructure of a containership Wednesday afternoon at the Port of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported.

Fire department personnel responded to South Navy Way on Terminal Island at about 4:45 p.m. When they arrived on the scene, they found that the victim had been fatally injured when striking containers on the ship’s deck.

“Firefighters/paramedics initiated resuscitative measures, but sadly, the man was beyond medical help,” the fire department said on its website. “Crews determined him to be dead on scene. The details surrounding the event are currently unclear.”

The Los Angeles Port Police will be investigating the incident and the U.S. Coast Guard has been notified. The name of the ship was not disclosed.

Port of Los Angeles photo

 

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Carrier USS George H. W. Bush in Eastern Mediterranean in Joint U.S.-Israel Exercise Juniper Oak

Aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) is participating in the Juniper Oak, joint drills between Israel and the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The exercise kicked off on Sunday and will include assets from across the U.S. military branches, U.S. Central Command said in a news release this week. “This exercise […]

The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group sails in formation with the Israeli Navy during exercise Juniper Oak 2023-2, Jan. 24, 2023 in the Mediterranean Sea. U.S. Navy Photo

Aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) is participating in the Juniper Oak, joint drills between Israel and the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The exercise kicked off on Sunday and will include assets from across the U.S. military branches, U.S. Central Command said in a news release this week.

“This exercise will include a large-scale live fire event with over 140 aircraft including B-52s, F-35s, F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s, AC-130, AH64s, 12 naval vessels, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems,” reads the CENTCOM release.

CENTCOM is billing the exercise as the largest bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Israel ever.

A Tuesday Defense Department image showed the George H. W. Bush carrier strike group operating in the Eastern Mediterranean for the exercise.

“Juniper Oak is a Combined Joint All-Domain exercise which improves our interoperability on land, in the air, at sea, in space, and in cyberspace with our partners, enhances our ability to respond to contingencies, and underscores our commitment to the Middle East,” CENTCOM commander Army Gen. Michael Kurilla said in the release.

Bush has been operating throughout the Mediterranean since August when it relieved the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group. For the last five months, the Bush CSG has remained in the Mediterranean amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Since December 2021, there has been a continued U.S. carrier presence in the Mediterranean. The last carrier to operate in the Middle East was the Japan-based USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in conjunction with the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

Coast Guard Opens Up Senior Enlisted Positions to More Candidates in Pilot Program

The Coast Guard introduced a new advancement pilot program meant to help fill critical, vacant positions, while also allowing service members to develop professionally, the service announced Thursday. Under the new policy, Coast Guard assignment officers can offer advancements to service members, who would have typically not been eligible or below the advancement threshold, if […]

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian Engelmann, a boatswain’s mate assigned to USCGC Vigorous (WMEC 627), drives the cutter’s small boat during an at-sea personnel transfer in the Windward Pass, Dec. 2, 2022. US Coast Guard Photo

The Coast Guard introduced a new advancement pilot program meant to help fill critical, vacant positions, while also allowing service members to develop professionally, the service announced Thursday.

Under the new policy, Coast Guard assignment officers can offer advancements to service members, who would have typically not been eligible or below the advancement threshold, if that service member agrees to an empty position late in the assignment year or an offseason fill position, according to the Coast Guard news release.

The pilot will start with two ratings – boatswain’s mate and electronic technician – and will be limited to pay grades E-6 through E-9. The program may expand to include other E-9 positions in order to meet grade caps.

The new pilot comes as the Coast Guard, like other military branches, adapts to a challenging recruiting environment. But unlike some of the other services, the Coast Guard has not seen struggles with retention, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan said during a talk at the annual Surface Navy Association conference earlier this month.

Under current Coast Guard policy, when the service does not have enough members eligible to advance to fill empty positions, the number of candidates who can advance is adjusted, according to the release. The change in policy is meant to offset the negative aspects the policy has on professional development.

The pilot is one way the Coast Guard is assessing innovative ways to assign service members, Master Chief Petty Officer Grant Heffner said in the release. It also gives people more power in choosing their assignments.

“We understand that as people age and mature, their lives and priorities may change,” Heffner said in the release.

If service members get more agency in deciding their positions means, then the unit they go to will have someone who is more motivated to be there, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joel Laufenberg said in the release.

“This lessens the likelihood that a position is going to remain vacant,” Laufenberg said. “And the member benefits because they get an opportunity to advance that they may not have had otherwise.”

Coast Guard: Illegal Fishing Has Surpassed Piracy as a Global Threat

Illegal fishing has surpassed piracy as a Coast Guard global concern in the maritime domain, the service’s top officer overseeing response policy said Wednesday. “The Coast Guard has been in the [fishing] enforcement game for a long time,” said Rear Adm. Jo-Ann Burdian. Most recently it started with enforcing the ban on using high seas […]

Japanese fishing enforcement interdicts an illegal Chinese fishing boat in 2013.

Illegal fishing has surpassed piracy as a Coast Guard global concern in the maritime domain, the service’s top officer overseeing response policy said Wednesday.

“The Coast Guard has been in the [fishing] enforcement game for a long time,” said Rear Adm. Jo-Ann Burdian. Most recently it started with enforcing the ban on using high seas drift nets, roughly the size of a football field, that were rapidly depleting fish stocks.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing globally has had cascading effects on many nations’ food security and led to conflict on the oceans, as has occurred between Chinese fishing fleets and Filipino fishermen, she noted during a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Illegal fishing, when combined with climate change’s impact on supply and rising sea levels, is also setting off a “crisis of regular migration,” as seen in the Caribbean, Burdian said.

Fishing “is the fundamental pillar [for] how [many of] these countries are sustaining themselves,” said Kelly Kryc, the deputy assistant secretary for international fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Maxine Burkett, the deputy assistant secretary of state for oceans, fisheries and polar affairs, said these “cascading, overlapping issues [of supply and environment] are going to shape foreign policy.” The situation is “especially acute now,” with criminal networks increasingly engaged in trafficking illegal catches, putting further stress on supply.

Natural issues – from depleted fishing stock to rising temperatures – are global issues, Kryc added. “The United States government cannot solve this problem alone” because “these are problems without borders.”

Kryc and the other panelists agreed. “We work with those who are willing to work with us on the problem at the source,” particularly in enforcement, Kryc said. Burkett said these partnerships have to come with no strings attached and must be continuous to be effective.

The panelists were measuring the impact of the Maritime SAFE Act. In introducing the bill that is now law, Sens. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing “is an issue that not only poses a serious threat to our own national security but also contributes to instability in regions important to United States interests,” Coons said in a 2019 statement. “This legislation allows the United States to combat a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that undercuts the economic livelihoods of legitimate fishermen and threatens food security for communities around the world.”

Using the 14th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Honolulu, as an example of how the service is working with other nations, Burdian said it’s training smaller island nations’ maritime forces to perform enforcement operations and monitor their exclusive economic zones.

In addition to those larger missions, she said the Coast Guard provides basic help like just basic engine support.

The question is “how can we be better partners [with other nations in the Pacific, off the coasts of Central and South America and Africa] in obtaining domain awareness” that will add law enforcement, Burkett said.

Burdian said many nations use the U.S. Coast Guard as a model for how to conduct enforcement to protect fisheries. Kyrc added that for many nations, “fish is the primary currency” they rely on to feed their citizens and preserve their cultures.