Just wanted to pass along this photo and its caption which refers to transfers not only to Uruguay but also to Lebanon. The photo was found here.
There was also a report of additional interaction with Lebanese armed forces here.
Below is a news release from Atlantic Area reporting USCGC Stone’s return from a patrol in the Eastern Pacific. It seems to have been a successful but fairly routine EastPac with a couple of items of note. In addition to drug interdiction, this patrol put some emphasis on Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported (IUU) fishing.
While this was Stone’s first operational mission since commissioning, she had already completed an unusual South Atlantic mission before commissioning.
I also wanted to make sure you did not miss the photos of Colombia’s 80 meter Fassmer OPV that operated with Stone. (Some of the photos were found here.) The Fassmer OPV is also operated by Chile and a slightly longer (86 meter) version is operated by Germany.
As can be seen, this 80.6 meter (264.4′) vesselp ca n operate and hangar a helicopter and has provision for three boats including one on a stern ramp. This one is armed with a medium caliber gun (76mm), what appears to up to 22 knots and have a range of 8,600 nautical miles (15,900 km). These are about the size of Bear class WMECs, and except for EW, equipment and capabilities sound similar to the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). The Fassmer design, is probably not as capable of continuing to operate boats and helicopter in as severe weather and probably does not have as large a hangar. Also, the flight deck does not look as large, but the Colombian ship does include a stern boat ramp not included in the OPC.
Some of the Chilean ships of this class are ice-strengthened.
U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area
USCGC Stone returns to homeport after 61-day patrol working with partners
Editors’ Note: To view more or download high-resolution imagery, click on the photos above.
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) returned to their homeport in Charleston following a 61-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean in support of the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Joint Interagency Task Force South, and the U.S. Coast Guard Eleventh District.
Stone’s crew successfully interdicted two suspected drug smuggling vessels, recovering approximately 2,246 pounds of cocaine and 4,870 pounds of marijuana with an estimated combined street value of $57.1 million. The cutter’s crew subsequently transferred 20 suspected narcotics smugglers to the Seventh Coast Guard District and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration personnel, signaling the culmination of a successful joint interagency effort in the Eastern Pacific.
The Stone embarked observers from Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to perform joint operations to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF) and conduct counter-drug operations off the coast of South America.
An embarked MH-65 helicopter aircrew from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron was integral in counter-drug operations. Interagency partners provided additional aerial surveillance and reconnaissance support throughout the patrol.
During the cutter’s port call in Manta, Ecuador, Stone’s commanding officer, Capt. Clinton Carlson, attended an international IUUF symposium with Arthur Young, the embarked National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration enforcement officer, to share experiences and increase awareness of the regional issue. The crew of the Stone also participated in a friendly soccer match with Cuerpo de Guardacostas de la Armada personnel from the local coast guard station while in Manta.
“This is our crew’s first patrol outside of their initial shakedown cruise, and I am extremely proud of the dedication and pride they have shown toward getting qualified to conduct the missions expected of a national security cutter crew,” said Carlson. “Throughout these past months, everyone aboard displayed enthusiasm during the drills we’ve run every week and have proven that through teamwork and a shared understanding of the mission, we can accomplish even the most difficult tasks. I am honored to lead this impressive crew of Coast Guard women and men.”
The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions for these interdictions by United States Attorney’s Offices from the Middle District of Florida, the Southern District of Florida and the Southern District of California. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the authority of the Eleventh Coast Guard District, headquartered in Alameda. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by U.S. Coast Guard members.
The Stone is the ninth Legend-class national security cutter in the Coast Guard fleet and currently homeports in Charleston, South Carolina. The national security cutters can execute the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders.
The Charleston-based Legend-class cutters fall under the command of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. Based in Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area oversees all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf. In addition to surge operations, they also allocate ships to work with partner commands and deploy to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific to combat transnational organized crime and illicit maritime activity.
Navy Recognition reports, state owned “Tandanor Naval Shipyard will proceed to the construction of a polar ship for the Argentinian Navy.”
“The new polar ship will have a length of 131,5 m, a beam of 23,6 m, and could reach a top speed of 16 knots.”
That is 431’4″ long and 77’5″ of beam.
Argentina is moving to strengthen their claim on territory in Antarctica.
In 2015 they completed repairs on their only icebreaker which had suffered a serious fire in 2007.
In 2019 Argentina contracted for four Offshore Patrol Vessels, three of which were to be ice-strengthened. Two of the ice-strengthened OPVs have already been delivered and the third should be delivered this year.
Argentina’s claim on Antarctica overlaps those of the UK and Chile.
STONE has ended her highly unusual deployment to the South Atlantic. She still has not been commissioned yet. Almost five months away from their families. This crew deserves some time off.
We talked about the Brazilian OPV, hull number P120, seen in one of the photos over ten years ago. “Possible New Ships at a Bargain Price”. The British have built five improved versions of the class and Thailand has built a couple of the class with heavier armament.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stone (WMSL 758) completes Operation Southern Cross
Editors’ Note: to view more or download imagery, please click here or the images above.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) crew arrived in their homeport of North Charleston, S.C., Monday, following the conclusion of the Operation Southern Cross, a patrol to the South Atlantic in support of counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Taking the newly-accepted cutter on its shakedown cruise, Stone’s crew covered over 21,000 miles (18,250 nautical miles) over 68 days. A mutual interest in combating IUUF activities offered an opportunity to collaborate for Stone’s crew. They interacted with partners in Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, and Portugal, strengthening relationships and laying the foundation for increased partnerships to counter illicit maritime activity.
“I could not be more proud of this crew. It was no easy feat to assemble a crew and ready a cutter for sea, but to do so in a COVID-19 environment followed by a two-month patrol is truly quite amazing. While at sea, we completed all patrol objectives and strategic engagements with like-minded partners. Our crew training was balanced with shining a big spotlight on illegal fishing practices in the South Atlantic. We arrived at our homeport on Monday after nearly five months away from families and will now receive some well-deserved rest,” said Capt. Adam Morrison, the Stone’s commanding officer.
Even before leaving the pier, the Stone set milestones. They are the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter with a Portuguese navy member to serve aboard. Lt. Miguel Dias Pinheiro, a Portuguese navy helicopter pilot, joined the Stone’s crew for the entirety of their first patrol.
Pinheiro served as both an observer and a linguist for daily operations. Further, he lent shipboard aviation experience. On this patrol, Stone certified their flight deck for aviation operations and embarked an aviation detachment from Air Station Houston. His participation in the patrol has already led to reciprocal activity with Portugal.
“Working with our partner nations has not only strengthened our working relationships but has allowed the crew of the Stone to conduct training evolutions that we don’t often get to do,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jason McCarthey, the Stone’s operations officer.
While in transit to conduct joint operations off Guyana’s coast, Stone encountered and interdicted a suspected narcotic trafficking vessel south of the Dominican Republic. Having stopped the illicit activity, Stone handed off the case to the USCGC Raymond Evans (WPC 1110), a fast response cutter from Key West, Florida, and continued their patrol south.
Stone’s team practiced communications with the Guyana Defense Force during a fast-paced interdiction scenario. This evolution required focus and attention on both sides of the radio.
In Brazil, the crew practiced communications and steaming in close formation, an essential skill for joint and combined operations. Stone’s team also gave presentations to the Brazil navy members on maritime law enforcement practices and tactics.
“Having the opportunity to work together and exchange ideas helps us all become more proficient in achieving our shared goals,” said McCarthey.
Stone was the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to call in Uruguay in over a decade. Stone’s crew familiarized their hosts on the Coast Guard’s full range of mission and operations, answering technical questions and sharing best practices. Uruguay expressed further interest in additional professional exchange opportunities and joint operations in the future.
The Stone crew were given a unique opportunity to forge new bonds and strengthen the foundations of previous alliances in the face of a global crisis and did so through in-person and virtual engagement, conscious of the risks involved.
“We are very keen to not only negotiate international agreements to address IUU fishing, as we did with the Port State Measures Agreement. We’re also very supportive of the work Coast Guard is doing to build relationships and strengthen the operational effectiveness of all of the coastal states to combat IUU fishing,” said David Hogan, acting director of The Office of Marine Conservation, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
Operation Southern Cross promises to expand U.S. relationships with these partner governments. Beyond Operation Southern Cross’s immediacy, the U.S. government intends these collaborations to promote long-term regional stability, security, and economic prosperity.
The cutter’s namesake is the late Cmdr. Elmer “Archie” Fowler Stone, who in 1917 became the Coast Guard’s first aviator and, two years later, was one of two pilots to successfully make a transatlantic flight in a Navy seaplane landing in Portugal.
This only looks at fishing off the Galapagos, but pretty sure this is happen elsewhere as well. The post reports the Chinese government is paying massive subsidizes and suggests that it seems to be attempting to establish a sort of lien on the world’s fisheries stocks, e. g. “we have historically taken the majority of the high sea’s catch so we should be allowed to continue to do so in perpetuity.”
It also looks at indicators of Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing.
Some photographs from USCGC Stone’s deployment to the Atlantic Coast of South America. Keep in mind, this is really a shakedown cruise. She still has not been commissioned.
Along the way, Stone managed to conduct a drug interdiction operation as well. LANT Area news release below:
On maiden voyage, USCGC Stone crew interdict narcotics in Caribbean
Editor’s Note: to view larger or download high-resolution images, click on the item above.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — While in transit to conduct joint operations off the coast of Guyana as part of Operation Southern Cross, USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) encountered and interdicted a suspected narcotic trafficking vessel south of the Dominican Republic Thursday.
Stone’s crew remained on scene during the search of the vessel to assist if need. Following the boarding, the Raymond Evans crew took possession of the contraband and detained the four suspected narcotics trafficking vessel members. They are working with the U.S. Coast Guard 7th District and Department of Justice on the next steps.
“Our teammates aboard USCGC Stone are helping keep our shared neighborhood – the Western Hemisphere- safe, successfully stopping illicit narcotics smuggling, while continuing their equally important mission to counter predatory and irresponsible IUU fishing, a growing threat to our partner nations’ sovereignty and our collective regional security.”
– Stone’s patrol demonstrates the U.S. commitment to the established rules-based order while addressing illegal activity wherever a U.S. Coast Guard cutter is deployed.”
– Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing is a pervasive, far-reaching security threat. One in five fish caught worldwide likely originate from IUU fishing.
– The U.S. Coast Guard is uniquely positioned to combat IUU fishing and uphold the rule of law at sea. The Service is keen to share knowledge and partner with like-minded nations.
– As a military, law enforcement, regulatory, and humanitarian service, the U.S. Coast Guard relies upon various authorities and partnerships to enhance our capability and capacity throughout the maritime domain.
The US Naval Institute News Service reports that USCGC Stone is being sent on an unusual Latin American South Atlantic patrol, even before she is commissioned. To make a patrol of this length prior to commissioning is almost unheard of, and the location is also something we have not done in a very long time, outside of the UNITAS exercise format.
The inaugural deployment is “a multi-month deployment to the South Atlantic countering illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing while strengthening relationships for maritime sovereignty and security throughout the region,” according to a Coast Guard news release. “This the service’s first patrol to South America in recent memory, engaging partners including Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Portugal.” An observer from the Portuguese navy embarked the cutter for the duration of Operation Southern Cross in the U.S. Southern Command region.
Certainly not the Coast Guard’s “first patrol to South America in recent memory,” but to this part of South America, perhaps.
“(Tribune News Service) — Iran is sending its biggest fleet yet of tankers to Venezuela in defiance of U.S. sanctions to help the isolated nation weather a crippling fuel shortage, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Some of the flotilla of about 10 Iranian vessels will also help export Venezuelan crude after discharging fuel, the people said, asking not to be named because the transaction is not public.”
Given the US previous seizure of tankers employed in the trade, it would not be surprising to see the US move against them. Coast Guard involvement possible.
I am really surprised that I have not seen any Coast Guard public affairs information about this.
The exercise included a SINKEX. Would really like to know how that went. Did the Legare shot? Visible damage?
There is no specific mention of submarines in the news release, but it did say there were ASW exercises. Several of the participating nations have subs. Bet, somewhere there is a photo of Legare in the cross hairs of a periscope.
UNITAS LXI, the world’s longest running multinational maritime exercise concluded with a closing ceremony in Manta, Ecuador, Nov. 11.
For this year’s iteration of UNITAS, Ecuador served as the host nation, joined by forces from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Uruguay, and the United States.
Partner nations used 13 warships and 12 aircraft to conduct scenario-driven joint and combined operations and training to enhance interoperability, flexibility, and increase maritime, air, and ground-domain awareness in the Western Hemisphere.
Events included: surface tactical maneuvers, a sinking exercise (SINKEX), a live-fire exercise, a replenishment-at-sea, search and rescue exercises, anti-submarine warfare exercises, air defense exercises, amphibious landing, reconnaissance, assault, security, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief response training.
The at-sea phase culminated in a multi-threat, multi-day scenario that allowed participants to work together, further increasing preparedness for real-world crises that would require a multi-national force response effort.
Additionally, U.S. Marine Corps Forces South hosted partner-nations at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to integrate with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command and conducted further interoperability training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief situations.
“Congratulations to all participants on the successful execution of UNITAS LXI,” said Brig. Gen. Phillip Frietze, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South. “Your efforts and performance have contributed to building the capacity and strength of our nations to rise together and achieve common goals.”
Peru will host UNITAS LXII next year to celebrate the bicentennial of the country and the Peruvian navy.
For 61 years, the United States has built upon commonalities and increased capabilities within the Western Hemisphere through exercise UNITAS. Different countries host the exercise each year, facilitating the opportunity to gain experience leading a multinational force through complex joint and combined maritime warfare scenarios and exercises.
UNITAS, Latin for “unity,” was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960 and has been held every year since. This year marks the 61st iteration of UNITAS. The exercise continues to develop and sustain relationships that improve the capacity of our emerging and enduring partners’ joint and combined maritime forces to achieve common desired effects and fosters friendly cooperation and understanding between participating military forces.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet is responsible for U.S. Naval forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, including the Caribbean, Central and South America.
For more information and news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cusns/, https://www.facebook.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT, and https://twitter.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT.
UPI is reporting that, beginning this week, USCGC Legare (WMEC-912) will be participating in this year’s UNITAS exercise along with USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), USNS Burlington (T-EPF-10), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 Detachment 9 (which flies MH-60S and MQ-8B drones), Patrol Squadron 9, Patrol Squadron 26 (both VP-9 and VP-26 fly the P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft) and the U.S. Army Vessel Chickahominy (LCU-2011).
Other participants include representatives form Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay for a total of 13 ships.