“Coast Guard cutters begin Operation Aiga in Oceania” –D14

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Juniper (WLB 201) return to Honolulu after completing a 45-day patrol in Oceania in support of Operation ‘Aiga, Oct. 1, 2021. The Juniper is a 225-foot Juniper-Class seagoing buoy tender home-ported in Honolulu, the crew is responsible for maintaining aids to navigation, performing maritime law enforcement, port, and coastal security, search and rescue and environmental protection. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Juniper)

Below is a D14 news release. These long distance/long duration operations pairing a buoy tender (WLB) and a Webber class WPC are getting to be fairly routine.

Buoy tenders are proving to be good PC tenders as well. This is a good demonstration of the multi-mission nature of Coast Guard buoy tenders and support for the contention that the buoy tender function should not be passed off to some other agency or outsourced.

Wonder if they might be able to support more than one patrol craft at a time?

(The photo in the news release below is of a different Juniper class WLB, USCGC Elm)

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 14th District Hawaii and the Pacific

Coast Guard cutters begin Operation Aiga in Oceania

 

Editors’ Note: Click on Coast Guard stock images to download a high-resolution version.

HONOLULU — The crews of the Coast Guard Cutter Juniper (WLB 201) and Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) will aim to extend the Coast Guard’s at-sea enforcement presence in the region through a 40-day patrol.

“Aiga,” the Samoan word for family, is designed to integrate Coast Guard capabilities and operations with Pacific Island Country (PIC) partners in order to protect shared national interests, combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and strengthen maritime governance in Oceania.

“Responsible fisheries management is vital to the Pacific’s well-being, prosperity, and security,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jessica Conway, the 14th District’s current operations officer. “The Coast Guard is an adaptable, responsive military force of maritime professionals whose broad legal authorities, capable assets, and expansive partnerships provide a persistent presence throughout our exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and on the high seas.”

IUU fishing operates outside the rules adopted at the national and international level. It threatens the ocean’s ecosystem, food security, and economic growth around the world by undercutting law-abiding fishermen and communities that depend on fish and fish products.

“An essential protein source for more than 40% of the world’s population, fish stocks are critical to maritime sovereignty and resource security of many nations,” said Cmdr. Christopher Jasnoch, the Juniper’s commanding officer.

As part of Operation Blue Pacific 2022, the crews of the Juniper and Joseph Gerczak will conduct information sharing activities to advance the U.S.’s bilateral and cultural relationships with Melanesia and Polynesia.

The Coast Guard regularly exercises bilateral shiprider agreements with partner nations. These agreements help to host foreign law enforcement personnel to better exercise their authority; closing any global maritime law enforcement gaps, improve cooperation, coordination, and interoperability.

Operation Blue Pacific is an overarching multi-mission Coast Guard endeavor seeking to promote maritime security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania while also strengthening relationships with our partners in the region.

“To ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific, the U.S. remains committed to strengthening regional alliances and enhancing emerging partnerships,” said Lt. Joseph Blinsky, Joseph Gerczak’s commanding officer. “Leading global deterrence efforts, the Coast Guard likewise remains committed to combating IUU fishing and our crews look forward to collaborating with PICs to better address this growing national security concern.”

“MASTERING EXPEDITIONARY IUU FISHERIES ENFORCEMENT IN THE BAHAMAS” –CIMSEC

HMBS Nassau (P-61). Taken by Erick Perez on 5/26/2007. From Wikipedia commons.

SIMSEC brings us a suggestion from a pair of Coast Guard officers that,

“… in order to achieve the Commandant’s vision for becoming the partner of choice, the Coast Guard only need look 50 miles east of Florida to the Bahamas. The Bahamas is an archipelagic nation beleaguered by competing fisheries claims, including some coming from U.S. commercial and recreational fishermen. It presents a ready-made test bed for partner building and enforcing fisheries violations without the tyranny of distance. It has the further benefit of strengthening partnerships with the nation that enjoys the closest maritime boundary to the United States outside of Mexico and Canada, and where Chinese economic influence is finding a foothold. It is an environment where small U.S. Coast Guard cutters or “patrol boats” are uniquely suited to sustained law enforcement operations in shallow littorals.”

While I find the proposal interesting, there are some issues that need to be considered.

First, unlike the island nations of the Western Pacific that are bound to US by the Compact of Free Association, we have no treaty obligations to the Bahamas and currently no enforcement authority in their waters.

Second, as a member of the Commonwealth Caribbean, I am sure the Bahamian Defense Force already has an on-going relationship with the Royal Navy. We would want to complement rather than replace that.

Third, our objective should be to strengthen Bahamian capability not, replace it. The Bahamian EEZ is 5.6% the size of that of the US. The Royal Bahamian Defense Force (RBDF) is essentially their Coast Guard. They have no army or air force. The RBDF reportedly has 1,600 members so it is about 3.6% the size of the active duty USCG. It is the largest navy in the Commonwealth Caribbean. The have ten patrol vessels:

The oldest and largest, HMBS Bahamas (P-60) and HMBS Nassau (P-61) (pictured above) were delivered in 1999. they are American made, 60.4 m (198 ft) in length, and capable of 24 knots. They are also equipped with a 25mm gun, four .50 caliber machine guns and a pair of RHIBs.

HMBS Rolly Gray (P424) a Damen Stan Patrol 4207

They have four of the very widely used Damen Stan Patrol 4207 (pictured above), used by 13 different coast guards and navies including the Canadian Coast Guard, Mexican Navy, and the UK Border Force. These are little sisters to the Webber class FRCs which are derived from the Damen Stan Patrol 4708 design. The 4207s are 42.8 m (140.4 ft) in length and are typically capable of about 26 knots.

HMBS Lignum Vitae (P 301) a Damen Stan Patrol 3007

They also have four Stan Patrol 3007 patrol boats that were delivered beginning in 2015. They are 30.93 meters (101’5″) in length, have a speed of at least 24 knots, and have a stern ramp for an RHIB.

In addition to three manned aircraft of three different types, two twin engine and one single engine, the RBDF has a fleet of 55 short and medium range UAS provided by the American firm Swift Tactical Systems.

There is certainly a lot we can do for them in terms of information sharing, training and joint exercises. Looks like they have a good basis for an effective force and the Coast Guard could benefit from a strong relationship with them. I gather we already have a good relationship with RBDF.

Cutters Albacore (WPB-87309), Cochito (WPD-87329), and Gannet (WPB-87334) Transferred to Uruguay

Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001

Navy of Uruguay to accept three Protector Class vessels as part of a grant from the United States Coast Guard as part of the Uruguayan Navy’s Fleet Modernization plan (Picture source U.S. Embassy of Uruguay)

Navy Recognition reports,

“According to information published by the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay, On December 15, 2021, Admiral Jorge Wilson, Commander of the Uruguayan Navy, signed a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) finalizing the government-to-government agreement between the United States and Uruguay, allowing Uruguay to accept three Protector-Class patrol vessels as part of a grant from the United States Coast Guard as part of the Uruguayan Navy’s Fleet Modernization plan.”

“Predicting illegal fishing activity is tip of the iceberg for mature AI technology” –BAE

BAE Systems technology applies machine learning analytics to automate low-level detection of activities of interest, such as fishing, from available data streams.

Below is a company press release, but it is an interesting one, with relevance to Coast Guard missions. The Obangame Express Exercise is one the Coast Guard has participated in, in the past. More info on the exercise here and here.


BAE Systems technology applies machine learning analytics to automate low-level detection of activities of interest, such as fishing, from available data streams.

The old “finding a needle in a haystack” analogy doesn’t begin to articulate the challenge associated with illegal fishing detection and identification. While a ship may be larger than a needle, the ocean is certainly larger than your biggest haystack. Add the need to not only find the ship, but determine its recent activities, anticipate future movements, and compare them with all other ships in the area — and do it in near real-time using open source data feeds.

At the Obangame Express event, which is the largest multinational maritime exercise in Western Africa, BAE Systems’ Multi-INT Analytics for Pattern Learning and Exploitation (MAPLE) as a Service, MaaS for short, was integrated with SeaVision, the U.S. Navy’s premier tool for unclassified interagency and coalition maritime data sharing. SeaVision is a maritime situational awareness tool that ingests maritime vessel position data from various government and commercial sources and simultaneously displays them on the same screen in a web browser.

“Military organizations use illegal fishing as a model application due to the unclassified nature of the available data,” said Neil Bomberger, chief scientist at BAE Systems’ FAST LabsTM research and development organization. “Successful detection of illegal fishing activity helps address a serious challenge and highlights another use case for our mature artificial intelligence technology.”

Giving depth to data

While manual analysis of individual vessel tracks is possible, it gets exponentially more challenging and time-consuming for large numbers of vessels. BAE Systems technology applies machine learning analytics to automate low-level detection of activities of interest, such as fishing, from available data streams. This enables analysts to quickly answer time-sensitive questions, prioritize manual data analysis activities, identify higher-level trends, and focus on decision-making instead of manual data analysis.

During the event, BAE Systems’ MaaS technology processed streaming data and automatically detected vessel behavior events that SeaVision displayed as an additional data layer to support user-friendly and timely analysis. The technology provides full visibility into the data to allow the users to check whether the detected behavior warrants further investigation. This helps build trust in the automation and supports additional analysis.

Decades in the making

BAE Systems’ FAST Labs maritime sensemaking capabilities are rooted in artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. Backed by nearly two decades of development, their behavior recognition and pattern analysis capabilities continue to show significant utility in real-world environments.

The cloud-based artificial intelligence technology was matured via work on the Geospatial Cloud Analytics (GCA) program. In the months since the successful event, the FAST Labs organization has continued to develop and mature its autonomy portfolio. Elements of its autonomy technology have proven successful in multiple domains including air, land, and sea.

“This successful event delivers on the promise of mature artificial intelligence technology – easy to integrate, incorporating trust, and providing fast and actionable information in a real-world scenario,” continued Bomberger. “The event showcased how our artificial intelligence technology can be deployed in a cloud environment, integrated with a government tool, and used to address relevant maritime activities.”

11 Island Class WPBs have been transferred to foreign partner nations, 15 Continue USCG Service

COLONIA, Yap (July 4, 2019) The U.S. Coast Guard Island-class patrol boat USCGC Kiska and Mark VI patrol boats assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 2, Coastal Riverine Group 1, Detachment Guam, moored in the Micronesia port of Yap. CRG 1, Det. Guam’s visit to Yap, and engagement with the People of Federated States of Micronesia underscores the U.S. Navy’s commitment to partners in the region. The Mark VI patrol boat is an integral part of the expeditionary forces support to 7th Fleet, capability of supporting myriad of missions throughout the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jasen Moreno-Garcia/Released)

In the photo above we see the former USCGC Kiska in an earlier life. Foreign military sales and transfer of excess property seem to be a growing Coast Guard mission. This does to some extent justify earlier recapitalization than might otherwise be the case. It is part of our attempt to build capacity in like minded partners’ navies and coast guards.

Coast Guard celebrates completion of training as part of cutter transfer to Ukraine

Members of the Ukrainian Navy receive congratulations following completion of Coast Guard training to operate and maintain a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat. These crewmembers will serve on Kubrak, the former Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, which will be delivered to Ukraine in early 2022. U.S. Coast Guard photo.


The Coast Guard Office of International Acquisition recognized 16 members of the Ukrainian Navy in a ceremony Oct. 22, 2021, at Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore. The Ukrainian crew just completed a rigorous six-week training program as part of the transfer of a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat to Ukraine.

The Coast Guard Cutter Transition Division Training Team helped the Ukrainian crew master the art of damage control, engineering maintenance, ship handling and watchstanding on Kubrak, which is the former Coast Guard Cutter Kiska. The Coast Guard officially transferred the title of the ex-Kiska Oct. 23, 2020. Since the title transfer, the cutter has been undergoing maintenance and upgrade work at Coast Guard Yard.

Kiska is the fifth patrol boat to be transferred to Ukraine under the Coast Guard Excess Defense Articles Program. Two cutters (ex-Drummond and ex-Cushing) were delivered to Ukraine in 2019, and two cutters (ex-Ocracoke and ex-Washington) will be transported to Ukraine later this month. Delivery of Kubrak to Ukraine is anticipated in early January 2022.

During its service as a Coast Guard cutter, the ex-Kiska was homeported in Hilo, Hawaii, and Apra Harbor, Guam, with primary missions of search and rescue, counter-drug activities and homeland security in addition to patrolling international and territorial waters as a humanitarian, law enforcement and Department of Homeland Security asset.

The ex-Kiska is the 11th 110-foot patrol boat transferred to a foreign partner nation; other patrol boats have been transferred to Pakistan, Georgia and Costa Rica. Congress has authorized transfer of two additional boats to Ukraine in fiscal year 2022. Recipients of former Coast Guard assets are determined by an interagency committee, led by the State Department.

Each 110-foot patrol boat transfer saves the Coast Guard money in remediation and disposal costs and helps build and sustain international maritime partnerships that foster greater global maritime security. One of the United States’ goals in this transfer is to help equip Ukraine with the means to project national sovereignty.

Coast Guard 110-foot patrol boats entered service in the mid-1980s; 15 of the 49 cutters originally in the class remain in service. The ships are being replaced with 64 154-foot fast response cutters, 45 of which are in service.

“Coast Guard cutter returns home following Western Pacific deployment” –News Release

Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) crewmember Petty Officer 2nd Class Kurt Chlebek, a boatswains mate, is greeted by his dog after Munro returned to their homeport in Alameda, California, Oct. 20, 2021, following a 102-day, 22,000 nautical mile multi-mission deployment. Munro’s crew departed Alameda in July for a Western Pacific patrol and operated in support of United States Indo-Pacific Command, which oversees military operations in the region. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Matt Masaschi.

Wrap-up of USCGC Munro’s recent deployment to the Western Pacific.

united states coast guard

News Release

Oct. 20, 2021
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area

Coast Guard cutter returns home following Western Pacific deployment

Photo of U.S. and Japan Coast Guard vessels
Coast Guard Cutter Munro crew returns home following 102-day, 22,000 nautical mile multi-mission Western Pacific deployment Coast Guard Cutter Munro crew returns home following 102-day, 22,000 nautical mile multi-mission Western Pacific deployment

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution versions.

Alameda, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) and crew returned to their Alameda homeport Wednesday following a 102-day, 22,000-nautical-mile deployment to the Western Pacific.

Munro departed Alameda in July to the Western Pacific to operate under the tactical control of U.S. Navy 7th Fleet to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“Munro’s deployment demonstrated the Coast Guard’s unique authorities in support of the Indo-Pacific command,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander Coast Guard Pacific Area. “Joint operations help strengthen our partnerships through search and rescue, law enforcement, marine environmental response and other areas of mutual interest which preserve a stable and secure global maritime environment.”

Munro’s crew executed numerous cooperative engagements, professional exchanges and capacity building efforts with naval allies and partners, including the Japan Coast Guard, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic ResourcesRoyal Australian Navy, and Indonesia Maritime Security Agency.

“Our relationships in the Western Pacific are stronger today, and our partners are unified in their commitment to security,” said Capt. Blake Novak, commanding officer of Munro. “It was an incredible opportunity for our crew to participate alongside allies, sharing search and rescue and law enforcement concepts to promote peace, prosperity, and the sovereign rights of all nations.”

As both a federal law enforcement agency and an armed force, the U.S. Coast Guard is uniquely positioned to conduct defense operations in support of combatant commanders on all seven continents. The service routinely provides forces in joint military operations worldwide, including the deployment of cutters, boats, aircraft, and deployable specialized forces.

Munro is one of four 418-foot national security cutters homeported in Alameda. National security cutters like Munro feature advanced command and control capabilities, aviation support facilities, stern cutter boat launch, and increased endurance for long-range patrols, enabling the crews to disrupt threats to national security further offshore.

Photos from the Munro’s deployment are available here.

“U.S. Coast Guard cutter trains with Indonesia’s Maritime Security Agency” –News Release

Members onboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro man the rails during a maritime engagement with the Indonesia Maritime Safety Agency in the Singapore Straight, Sept. 20, 2021. Coast Guard Cutter Munro is currently deployed to the Western Pacific to strengthen alliances and partnerships, and improve maritime governance and security in the region. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Kevin G. Rivas)

Below is a Pacific Area News release, more of USCGC Munro’s adventures in the Western Pacific. You can also see the four accompanying photos here.

Indonesia has a unique organization that includes two coast guard like institutions,

The relationship between the two agencies seems to have been in flux. The Indonesian Navy also has a number of patrol boats that would correspond to US Coast Guard patrol boats. The Indonesian Navy is also constructing Offshore Patrol Vessels comparable to large Coast Guard Cutters.

The Indonesian ship seen in the photographs is KN Dana (323), a 80 meter Offshore Patrol Vessel, one of a class of three Damen designed vessels of the Bakamla. There is also a larger 110 meter OPV, all are relatively new.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
September 21, 2021
Contact: Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs
Office: (510) 437-3375
D11-DG-M-PACAREA-PA@uscg.mil
Pacific Area online newsroom

U.S. Coast Guard cutter trains with Indonesia’s Maritime Security Agency

U.S. Coast Guard and Indonesian Coast Guard U.S. Coast Guard Captain Novak waves to Indonesian Coast Guard vessel U.S. Coast Guard and Indonesian Coast Guard

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) conducted operations and exercises with the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency and coast guard, the Badan Keamanan Laut (known as BAKAMLA), September 20, in the Singapore Strait.

 Together, the crews participated in ship-to-ship communications drills, multi-unit maneuvering and maritime domain awareness while at sea.

 “These maritime exercises with our Indonesian partners forge a stronger relationship, allowing our respective crews to work together and build on each others’ strengths,” said Munro’s Commanding Officer Capt. Blake Novak. “Strengthening our alliances and partnerships fosters our unified commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and promotes peace, security, prosperity and the sovereign rights of all nations.”

 The U.S. Coast Guard partnership with Indonesia continues to grow stronger. In 2019, the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton conducted engagements with BAKAMLA as part of the Western Pacific deployment, including a port call in Batam and an exercise in the Riau Islands Province. The Stratton also participated in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training with the Indonesian Navy in 2019.

Munro, a 418-foot national security cutter, departed its home port of Alameda, California, in July for a months-long deployment to the Western Pacific. Operating under the tactical control of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, the cutter and crew are engaging in professional exchanges and capacity-building exercises with partner nations and patrolling and conducting operations as directed. National security cutters like Munro feature advanced command and control capabilities, aviation support facilities, stern cutter boat launch, and increased endurance for long-range patrols, enabling the crews to disrupt threats to national security further offshore.

“The U.S. Coast Guard is proud to operate with the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency and coast guard to enhance capabilities, strengthen maritime governance, security and promote rules-based international order,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area. “Strengthening partnerships contributes to the region’s maritime common good in search and rescue, law enforcement, marine environmental response and other areas of mutual interest.” 

As both a federal law enforcement agency and an armed force, the USCG is uniquely positioned to conduct defense operations in support of combatant commanders on all seven continents. The service routinely provides forces in joint military operations worldwide, including the deployment of cutters, boats, aircraft, and deployable specialized forces.

More photos from Munro’s Western Pacific deployment are available here. Subscribe here to receive notifications when new photos are added.

                                

Royal Navy Deploys Two OPVs for Five Years to No Base in Particular

We have deployed cutters to the Western Pacific for months at a time, and PATFORSWA kept its 110s operating out of Bahrain for years, but the Royal Navy seems to be doing something different and I believe remarkable.

Naval News reports they are sending a pair of River Batch II class ships, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey, well beyond the Suez. It sounds all very 18th Century Star Trek, “Our Five Year Mission, Proceed into the Indian and Pacific Oceans and act in the Queen’s Interests.” (No, not a real quote.)

If these ships were in the US Coast Guard we would see them as MECs. They are slightly larger and faster than the 270s, but are not as well equipped in some respects. They are armed only with a 30mm gun and no helicopter hangar. I don’t believe they have any ESM/ECM. Their crew is also considerably smaller, smaller in fact than that of a 210. (I have seen various numbers for the crew size, 34 in the infographic above, 58 in Wikipedia, 46 as reported below, but all well below the 75 common on a 210 or the 100 typical of a 270.)

“Each ship is crewed by 46 sailors, with half the crew trading places with shipmates from the UK every few weeks.”

The Royal Navy actually has considerable experience keeping OPVs deployed for long periods with austere support.

We might even see one of these helping with drug interdiction in the Eastern Pacific, more likely they will be countering piracy and drug or arms trafficing in the Indian Ocean or capacity building in East Africa or SE Asia. Maybe we could make a multi-national Freedom of Navigation transit of the Taiwan Strait.

 

“U.S. Coast Guard Continues to Expand Presence in the Western Pacific” –USNI


August 26, JS OUMI conducted joint training with USCGC Munro in the East China Sea.

The US Naval Institute’s News Service reports on recent Coast Guard activity in the Western Pacific, apparently based primarily on a conversation with Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, Commander Pacific Area and Commander, Coast Guard Defense Force West.

They talk primarily about USCGC Munro’s operations with Japanese and Philippine forces. These included first time underway logistics support provided by the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, but there was more. They also discussed cooperation with the China Coast, but the Pacific Area Commander made one particular statement that may portend a new base in the Western Pacific,

“McAllister also provided an update on Coast Guard operations in the Pacific Islands since the July commissioning in Guam of Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139), Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) and Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143), and the re-designation of Coast Guard Sector Guam to Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam.” (emphasis applied–Chuck)

There would not seem to be a reason to apply the designation “Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam” unless there were Coast Guard forces in Micronesia somewhere beside Guam. Right now there are none that I am aware of.

I hope to publish something soon to discuss there those forces might be based.

“U.S. Coast Guard concludes training with Philippine maritime agencies” –Pacific Area

U.S. Coast Guard trains with Philippine maritime agencies

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro (left) and Philippine Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel Gabriela Silang (right) render honors to each other following bilateral operations and exercises Aug. 31, 2021, in the West Philippine Sea. The Munro and crew are currently deployed to the Western Pacific Ocean to strengthen alliances and partnerships and improve maritime governance and security in the region. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Kevin G. Rivas)

Passing along a Pacific Area news release. More photos here. Recently read USCGC Munro had completed an Underway Refueling from a Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Vessel (Thanks to Paul). Of course this upset the Chinese. They seem to be perpetually upset.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
Sept. 1, 2021

U.S. Coast Guard concludes training with Philippine maritime agencies

Photo of Coast Guard members on cutter Saluting on the cutter Cutters underway

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) arrived in Subic Bay, Philippines, Tuesday following operations and exercises in the West Philippine Sea with the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

Munro’s crew participated in bilateral operations, professional exchanges, search-and-rescue and communications exercises, small boat operations, multi-vessel maneuvering, and maritime domain awareness drills while at sea.

“As the maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region become increasingly complex, partnering with our Philippine Coast Guard and fisheries counterparts is vital to our shared interest in a free and open maritime environment,” said Munro’s Commanding Officer Capt. Blake Novak. “We thoroughly enjoyed our Philippine hosts’ professionalism and hospitality, and we look forward to future bilateral operations to further our longstanding relationship.”

The search-and-rescue exercise simulated the agencies’ bilateral response to a vessel in distress. During the exercise, the Munro, PCG, and BFAR practiced searching for the distressed vessel, shipboard firefighting techniques, and recovering and treating persons in the water. As part of the exercise, members of the PCG joined USCG members aboard Munro as they launched the cutter’s Small Unmanned Aircraft System to aid in the search-and-rescue response. The day’s exercises and operations provided opportunities for each involved agency to learn from each other.

“The success of the joint maritime exercise between the PCG and USCG will not only strengthen international partnerships for immediate response to calamities and disasters but will also ensure that our personnel could effectively perform their mandated functions in countering terrorism and other acts of lawlessness in our country’s waters,” said Admiral George V. Ursabia JR., PCG commandant.

The USCG has a long history of cooperation with the PCG. In 2019, the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf conducted engagements with the PCG as part of its Western Pacific deployment, focusing on search and rescue, maritime security, and law enforcement capabilities.

Munro, a 418-foot national security cutter, departed its homeport of Alameda, California, in July for a months-long deployment to the Western Pacific. Operating under the tactical control of U.S. 7th Fleet, the cutter and crew are engaging in professional exchanges and capacity-building exercises with partner nations and are patrolling and conducting operations as directed. National security cutters like Munro feature advanced command and control capabilities, aviation support facilities, stern cutter boat launch, and increased endurance for long-range patrols, enabling the crews to disrupt threats to national security further offshore.

“The Coast Guard shares deep and abiding interests with our allies and partners, who, like us, have long endorsed a rules-based international order,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area. “Partnering with the Philippines to enhance maritime governance, including important missions such as search and rescue and enforcement of fisheries laws and treaties, is essential to the security, stability and prosperity of all nations.”

As both a federal law enforcement agency and an armed force, the USCG is uniquely positioned to conduct defense operations in support of combatant commanders on all seven continents. The service routinely provides forces in joint military operations worldwide, including the deployment of cutters, boats, aircraft, and deployable specialized forces.

More photos from Munro’s Western Pacific deployment are available here. Subscribe here to receive notifications when new photos are added.