Below is a PAC AREA news release, reproduced in full. To put it into context, a huge fleet of Chinese F/Vs has been operating just outside the Ecuadorian EEZ surrounding the Galapagos Islands. Apparently there was enough concern that some might be engaged in Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing that PAC AREA sent a ship to back Ecuadorian enforcement. It is about 540 nautical miles between the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador. For Bertholf, this is not a great deviation from the Pacific drug transit zones. The Ecuadorian cutter seen in the photographs is a Damen Stan Patrol 5009, 50 meters in length and 9 meters in beam. It has a “axe bow.” It is one of two ships of the class ordered in 2014. For such a small vessel, it has unusual endurance, 30 days, and can accommodate up to 32 people. Max speed is 23 knots.
U.S. Coast Guard, Ecuadorian navy conduct joint patrol off Galapagos Islands
Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.
ALAMEDA, Calif. – In coordination with the Ecuadorian navy, the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) recently completed a joint patrol to detect and deter potential Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the vicinity of the Galapagos Islands.
From Aug. 25-29, Bertholf patrolled over 3,000 square nautical miles of Ecuadorian and international waters and conducted joint operations with the Ecuadorian naval vessel LAE Isla San Cristobal (LG-30), providing persistent presence and surveillance of fishing activity throughout the region.
The joint operation highlights a significant Coast Guard partnership with a South American country to detect, deter and ensure adherence to international maritime norms for fishing.
Information gathered during the operation was shared with Ecuador to strengthen future compliance efforts and gain greater shared awareness of potential IUU fishing activity.
“It was a unique opportunity to sail together with the Ecuadorian navy, and we were impressed by their professionalism and dedication to the fight against illegal fishing,” said Capt. Brian Anderson, Bertholf’s commanding officer. “This joint operation demonstrates the effectiveness and importance of our international partnerships.”
IUU fishing is a global security, economic, and environmental threat that undermines national sovereignty and weakens the international rules-based order.
Up to 27 million tons of fish are caught illegally each year, which accounts for 20-30% of total global annual catch. Economic losses from IUU fishing are estimated to be as much as $23.5 billion per year.
“The United States remains committed to the international effort to combat IUU fishing and the illegal exploitation of the ocean’s fish stocks,” said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, the Pacific Area commander. “The U.S. Coast Guard will continue to safeguard our national interests and build lasting international partnerships that promote the rule of law and sovereignty for all nations.”