“FACT SHEET: U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington, DC” –The White House, May 12, 2022

Indonesian Maritime Security Agency vessel KN Tanjung Datu, left, sails alongside U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton during joint exercises in the Singapore Strait in August 2019. IMAGE CREDIT: PO1 LEVI READ/USCG

Below is an excerpt from a May 12, 2022 White House Fact Sheet. Notably there is some significant new tasking for the Coast Guard here.

Here is a link to the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific’s Maritime Pillar” referred to in the excerpt. See particularly V. Areas of Cooperation, Maritime Cooperation, paragraphs 14 and 15 on page 3.

Presumably, this is being implemented, at least in part, as a result of NOAA’s “National Five Year Strategy for Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (2022-2026) which designated Vietnam as one of five “Priority States.”

EXPANDING MARITIME COOPERATION

The United States is committed to supporting implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific’s Maritime Pillar. Today we are announcing $60 million in new regional maritime initiatives, most of which will be led by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

  • Personnel and Presence: The USCG will deploy assets and assign additional personnel to the Indo-Pacific to help meet partners’ requests for maritime training and capacity-building, to include a USCG attaché at the U.S. Mission to ASEAN.
  • Countering Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing: The Department of State, Department of Labor, and USCG will launch new initiatives to help ASEAN counties counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and strengthen the capacity of ASEAN sectoral bodies to prevent forced labor in the fishing industry.
  • Indo-Pacific Support Platform: The USCG will deploy a cutter to Southeast Asia and Oceania for security cooperation and to operate as a training platform. This cutter will deploy throughout the region providing multinational crewing opportunities, conduct training missions, and participate in cooperative maritime engagements.
  • Excess Defense Articles: As USCG decommissions cutters, the service will prioritize the transfer of ships to Southeast Asian countries to increase the coastal nations’ maritime law enforcement capacity and promote a free and open Pacific.
  • Southeast Asia Training Team: The Department of State and USCG will expand USCG support to maritime law enforcement agencies in Southeast Asia by placing a training team in the region for the first time with additional dedicated support from U.S.-based trainers. These technical experts will provide capacity-building for the regional partners’ maritime law enforcement agencies in the areas of institutional development, readiness, sustainment of equipment, and workforce professionalization.
  • Emergency Training: The USCG and the Department of State will provide new trainings on energy safeguards, protection of critical maritime infrastructure, and all-hazards response.

NATIONAL 5-YEAR STRATEGY FOR COMBATING ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED, AND UNREGULATED FISHING (2022-2026) / and the Missing Air Element

Under NOAA auspices, the U. S. Interagency Working Group on IUU Fishing has issued a five year strategy to address IUU fishing.

There are three identified objectives:

  • Promote Sustainable Fisheries Management and Governance
  • Enhance the Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance of Marine Fishing Operations
  • Ensure Only Legal, Sustainable, and Responsibly Harvested Seafood Enters
    Trade

Five nations have been identified as priorities for development of self sufficiency in the prevention of IUU fishing: Ecuador, Panama, Senegal, Taiwan, and Vietnam. These “Priority States” were selected because their “…vessels: “actively engage in, knowingly profit from, or are complicit in IUU fishing” and, at the same time, the priority flag state “is willing, but lacks the capacity, to monitor or take effective enforcement action against its fleet.”

090808-G-3885B-136
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 8, 2009) The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Legare (WMEC 912), left, patrols along side the Senegalese Navy vessel, Poponquine, during joint operations as part of the Africa Partnership Station. The Legare is deployed off the west and central coast of Africa for the six-day joint U.S/Senegalese operation, during which several Senegalese naval vessel boarding team members embarked aboard the Legare and participated in joint boarding and training exercises. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas M. Blue/ Released)

It is likely the Coast Guard will be spending time helping these states build capacity in their navies, coast guards, or maritime police.

The Missing Air Element  

One of the great strengths of the US Coast Guard is its fleet of fixed wing aircraft. They provide an essential detection capability. An air search capability allows the patrol vessels to do less searching and more boardings. Most smaller nations’ maritime law enforcement agencies have only limited, or in many cases, no comparable organic air search capability. Frequently, if they are to have an air search, they require cooperation of another service.

What I have seen of our capacity building efforts, seem to have been focused on surface operations and boarding team work.

Recognizing fishing vessels is not in the skill set of most air force crews. Frequently communications between surface vessels and air units are not compatible. In many air forces their aircraft virtually never go out over blue water.

The US Coast Guard could certainly help build capacity on the air side, as well as the surface side of the IUU fishing problem.

Land based Unmanned Air Systems now appear to be a way maritime law enforcement agencies might have an organic fixed wing air search capability at a lower cost. Unfortunately the US Coast Guard still is not particularly experienced in this area. The Japanese Coast Guard might be able to provide valuable advice to at least Taiwan and Vietnam in the use of UAS, as they gain experience with their newly acquired MQ-9Bs.

“Coast Guard cutter patrols near Port-au-Prince, Haiti” –District 7

USCGC NORTHLAND (WMEC-904)

Not uncommon for cutters to be in the area, but, if this is more than just training, that the Hatian government asked the Coast Guard to be there is unusual.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Southeast

Coast Guard cutter patrols near Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Editor’s km Note: Click on images to download high-resolution version.

MIAMI — The Coast Guard diverted one of its major cutters to patrol near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, at the request of the government of Haiti and in close coordination with the U.S. okay Department of State.

USCGC Northland (WMEC 904) was diverted to Haiti as a clear sign of U.S. resolve in support of the Government of Haiti and its people, and to rendezvous with the Haitian Coast Guard for training in the area.

Northland was previously patrolling within the Windward Pass under the direction of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, headquartered in Miami, in support of Operation Vigilant Sentry, a standing maritime law enforcement operation.

“The U.S. Government has a vested interest in regional security throughout the Caribbean Sea and is aware of the ongoing situation of civil unrest and gang violence within Haiti,” said Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District. “The Coast Guard is one part of a whole-of-government approach to assist the Haitian government with security and stability throughout Haiti, especially as it relates to the deterrence and prevention of dangerous, irregular maritime migration.”

The Coast Guard has a longstanding relationship with the Haitian Coast Guard. In January 2010, USCGC Forward (WMEC 911), a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter, was the first U.S. asset to respond and render humanitarian aid and assistance following a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti. In August 2021, the Coast Guard was among the first U.S. agencies to respond with humanitarian aid following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Haiti.

In August 2022, USCGC Robert Yered (WPC 1104), a 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter, delivered firefighting equipment sourced as a donation from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to better equip the Haitian firefighting department at Port-au-Prince-Toussaint Louverture International Airport. In September 2022, the Coast Guard’s international training team visited Haiti to facilitate the second of two iterations of small boat operations training with the Haitian Coast Guard to ensure uniform and repeatable training standards for the maintenance and safe operation of the Haitian Coast Guard’s surface fleet.

The Coast Guard continues to patrol the Caribbean Sea to deter undocumented migration by sea. In fiscal year 2022, the Coast Guard interdicted 7,173 Haitian migrants attempting to enter the United States illegally by sea.

Northland is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia. Northland’s missions include law enforcement, search and rescue, drug interdiction, fisheries enforcement, migrant interdiction, homeland security and defense operations, international training, and humanitarian operations. Northland patrols the offshore waters from Maine to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

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USCGC MOHAWK’s Trans-Atlantic, Europe and West Africa Deployment–Wrap Up

I love the T-shirt, great morale builder. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Daring, an operations specialist temporarily assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, cleans the bulk heads during a fresh water wash down of the ship while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 10, 2022.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Fontenette) 

Below is a media advisory concerning the expected return of USCGC Mohawk from a 92 day deployment that included escorting two PATFORSWA bound Webber class patrol craft accross the Atlantic and port visits and capacity building in Europe and West Africa.

Maybe we need a new slogan, “Join the Coast Guard and see the World.”

It was an unusually very well documented cruise, at least photographically, check it out.

USCGC Mohawk (WMEC-913), Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC-1147), and John Scheuerman (WPC-1146)

USCGC Mohawk sails alongside a Nigerian navy ship in the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 22, 2022. (Jessica Fontenette/U.S. Coast Guard)

USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) conducts a MK-75 gun exercise while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, Sept. 2, 2022.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Fontenette)

Crew members onboard the USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) prepare for helicopter hoist training on the flight deck while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 27, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Fontenette)


Media Advisory

U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Are

Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk to return from 92-Day AFRICOM deployment

KEY WEST, Fla. — USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) and crew are scheduled to return to their homeport Monday following a 92-day, United States Africa Command deployment.

WHO: Cmdr. Andrew Pate, Mohawk’s commanding officer, and Mohawk crew

WHAT: Mohawk crew returns to Key West homeport after 92-day, AFRICOM deployment

WHERE: Coast Guard Sector Key West, 201 Mustin St., Key West, Florida 33040, Delta 2 Pier

WHEN: 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12

Editor’s Note: Media are asked to RSVP by 4 p.m. Sunday to Atlantic Area Public Affairs at 757-452-8336. Media are requested to arrive no later than 12 p.m., Monday, with a driver’s license and proof of insurance in order to be processed through security.

Mohawk’s crew departed Key West, Florida in June and forward-deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe –Africa area of operations, where they were employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

Mohawk began its deployment as surface action group commander, leading the transatlantic escort of two newly commissioned 154-foot fast response cutters, USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) and USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146) from Key West, Florida to the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations. Clarence Sutphin Jr. and John Scheuerman continued on to their new homeport in Manama, Bahrain, where they will be employed by U.S. Fifth Fleet.

While on deployment, Mohawk made significant advances in combating piracy and illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing conducting multinational law enforcement operations at sea in the Atlantic basin. Their efforts served to strengthen existing relationships with  African nations, and prioritized opportunities for new partnerships with allies who share common interests in the region. Mohawk’s crew worked closely with eight partner nation navies, sailing nearly 19,000 nautical miles in support of American interests abroad. Leading training exercises at-sea and in port, Mohawk also hosted diplomatic engagements and participated in community relations events during port visits to Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Portugal, Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Mohawk was the first United States warship to moor in The Gambia since 1994.

Commissioned in March 1991, Mohawk is the 13th and last of the Famous-class Coast Guard cutters. It is named for the Algonquin tribe of Iroquoian Indians who lived in the Mohawk Valley of New York, and is the third cutter to bear the name. Mohawk is homeported in Key West, Florida.

 Photos from Mohawk’s deployment are available here.

“U.S. Maritime Forces Arrive for UNITAS LXIII hosted by Brazil” –Seapower

LOOKING BACK: The US Coast Guard cutter USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907), Brazlian Navy ship BNS Bosisio (F 48) and Argentinian navy ship ARA Almirante Brown (D-10) move into formation for a photo exercise during the Atlantic phase of UNITAS 52 on May 4, 2011. The formation included a total of ten ships from the US, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. (Photo: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steve Smith)

The Navy League’s on line magazine, Seapower, reports on the upcoming 63rd UNITAS exercise,

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Navy and Marine forces are set to arrive in Rio de Janeiro in support of UNITAS LXIII, the world’s longest-running multinational maritime exercise scheduled to take place Sept. 8-22, the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet said in a Sept. 1 release.

This year’s exercise is hosted by the Brazilian navy and will included 20 participating nations, 19 ships, one submarine, 21 aircraft, accounting for approximately 5,500 total military personnel that will conduct operations principally off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

USCG Pacific Area Tactical Law Enforcement Team (PAC AREA TACLET) will be there, but apparently no other Coast Guard units.

Notably, Argentina is not participating.

“Coast Guard carves out strategic niche in Africa” –Stars and Stripes

USCGC Mohawk manns the rail as she sails alongside a Nigerian navy ship in the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 22, 2022. Mohawk is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of operations. (Jessica Fontenette/U.S. Coast Guard)

Stars and Stripes reports on the Coast Guard’s latest capacity building and counter IUU efforts in West African waters.

Previous related reports:

The second link immediately above includes additional links regarding previous similar efforts.

“Coast Guard Cutter Midgett arrives in the Western Pacific” –PacArea

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 30, 2022) U.S. Coast Guard Legend-class cutter USCGC Midgett (WMSL 757) transits the Pacific Ocean during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, three submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Taylor Bacon)

Only weeks after having completed participation in RIMPAC2022, Honolulu based USCGC Midgett begins a “months-long” deployment in the Western Pacific.

News Release

August 31, 2022
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area

Coast Guard Cutter Midgett arrives in the Western Pacific

VIDEO: Coast Guard Cutter Midgett arrives in the Western Pacific

Coast Guard Cutter Midgett arrives in Manila, Philippines Coast Guard Cutter Midgett arrives in Manila, Philippines Coast Guard Cutter Midgett arrives in Manila, Philippines
Coast Guard Cutter Midgett arrives in Manila, Philippines Coast Guard Cutter Midgett arrives in Manila, Philippines Coast Guard Cutter Midgett arrives in Manila, Philippines

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

MANILA, Philippines – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757) arrived in Manila Tuesday for its first international port call during the crew’s months-long Western Pacific deployment to the region.

Midgett’s crew will conduct professional exchanges and operate with the Philippine Coast Guard as part of an at-sea search-and-rescue exercise while in Manila, building upon the strong partnership between the two nations.

Midgett is operating in support of United States Indo-Pacific Command, which oversees military operations in the region.

Operating under the tactical control of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, the cutter’s crew plans to engage in professional and subject matter expert exchanges with regional partners and allies and will patrol and operate as directed during their Western Pacific deployment.

The Coast Guard provides expertise within the mission sets of search and rescue; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; maritime environmental response; maritime security; maritime domain awareness; aviation operations; interoperability; and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

As both a federal law enforcement agency and a branch of the armed forces, the Coast Guard is uniquely positioned to conduct non-escalatory defense operations and security cooperation 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.

“Engaging with our Philippine Coast Guard partners is truly an honor,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Willie Carmichael, commanding officer of the Midgett. “Together we will continue to build strong relationships and learn from each other. Our deep-rooted partnership will combine the best of both our Coast Guards and the planned search-and-rescue exercise and professional exchanges are a great opportunity for us keep the Indo-Pacific region open and free.”

The U.S. Coast Guard has a 150-year enduring role in the Indo-Pacific. The service’s ongoing deployment of resources to the region directly supports U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives in the Indo-Pacific Strategy and the National Security Strategy.

Since 2019, the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750), Stratton (WMSL 751), Waesche (WMSL 751) and Munro (WMSL 755) have deployed to the Western Pacific.

Commissioned in 2019, Midgett is one of two Coast Guard legend-class national security cutters homeported in Honolulu. National security cutters are 418-feet long, 54-feet wide, and have a 4,600 long-ton displacement. They have a top speed in excess of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, endurance of up to 90 days and can hold a crew of up to 170.

Midgett is the second cutter named after Rear Admiral John Midgett, whose family has a long legacy in the Coast Guard and our services precursor – the U.S. Life Saving Service.

National security cutters feature advanced command and control capabilities, aviation support facilities, stern cutter boat launch and increased endurance for long-range patrols to disrupt threats to national security further offshore.

“The Pacific Islands” –Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report

Estimated exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs). The EEZs of countries that are the Parties to the Nauru Agreement are shown in darker blue. Note that not all EEZs of PICTs have been officially delineated under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Source: Patrick Lehodey

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a two page “IN FOCUS” brief on “The Pacific Islands” of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Like all my links to CRS reports, this link will always take you to the latest version. It has already been updated at least once, 17 August, 2022.

Given the increased Coast Guard activity in the region, the report may provide useful background. The topics discussed are:

  • Overview
  • Geopolitical Context
  • The United States and the Region
  • The Freely Associated States
  • International Assistance
  • China’s Influence
  • Security Challenges
  • Self Determination

“USCGC Mohawk Arrives in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire” –SeaWaves

USCGC Mohawk (WMEC-913), Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC-1147), and John Scheuerman (WPC-1146)

SeaWaves report,

The Famous-class medium endurance cutter USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrived in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire for a scheduled port visit August 12.

The visit demonstrates the strengthening security cooperation relationship between the United States and Côte d’Ivoire. While in Abidjan, the Mohawk crew will exchange with Côte d’Ivoire maritime forces, including medical response treatment, close quarters combat and casualty care, illegal contraband collection and handling, and Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) demonstrations.


Mohawk is forward-deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) area of operations, while employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet. Mohawk is on a West Africa patrol to demonstrate partnership with regional partners and conduct a routine presence patrol. Since July, the Mohawk has made port calls to Senegal, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone.

This is a continuation of a voyage that initially escorted the last two Webber class WPCs bound for Bahrain, where they replace 110 foot WPBs that have long served Patrol Forces South West Asia (PATFORSWA). Some previous reporting,

“USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrives in Lisbon, Portugal”–Navy.mil–and Two More FRCs for PATFORSWA, and “USCGC Mohawk arrives in Dakar, Senegal” –SeaWaves July, 2022

This is only the latest visit by a WMEC270 to Africa. Some previous reports:

Exercise Obangame Express 2019 –Capacity Building in West Africa, Mar. 2019 and “The U.S. Coast Guard’s Mission to Africa” –USNI, Apr. 2019, USCGC Thetis (WMEC-910)

“The Long Blue Line: Operation “Relevant Ursa”–Bear training in West Africa” –Coast Guard Compass, Oct. 2020, USCGC Bear (WMEC-901)

Thetis Escorts FRCs Transatlantic, and “U.S., Spain, Morocco collaborate to conduct rescue at sea” –LANT AREA News Release, Jan. 2022, USCGC Thetis (WMEC-910)

 

“Japanese PM Kishida Lays Out Indo-Pacific Strategy in Shangri-La Speech” –USNI

Japanese built Philippine CG cutter BRP Teresa Magbanua during sea trials off Japan (Photo: Philippine Coast Guard)

The US Naval Institute News Service reports on a speech by Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida before the Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue forum in Singapore.

During his speech, Kishida also spoke about Japan’s planned efforts to strengthen nations in the Indo-Pacific both in security and economic aspects. The security side will include transferring patrol boats in the region, strengthening regional maritime law enforcement capabilities (emphasis applied–Chuck) and providing defense equipment and technology transfers. Singapore is one of the countries that will sign a defense equipment and technology transfer agreement with Japan.

As China has become more agressive in its behavior, Japan has been a lot more active in reaching out to help friendly nations. It appears they have decided to provide an Asian nation alternative to Chinese hegemony. One of the ways they have done this is transfer of vessels to conduct coast guard functions on favorable terms. We have already seen this with the Philippines (and here), Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

We have also seen increased interaction between the Japan Coast Guard and the USCG here, here, here, and here. Japan seems to be promoting coast guards as a way to maintain rules based international norms and may be looking to create an international consensus on coast guard behavior to promote cooperation and interoperability. They are looking at their own Coast Guard’s role as well. They seem to be looking to the USCG as an allied, internationally recognized example of proper coast guard functions to help achieve this consensus.