USCGC Washington returns from law enforcement patrol
Santa Rita – The USCGC WASHINGTON, home ported in Santa Rita, Guam, is returning from a two week long joint law enforcement patrol with the Republic of Palau and Australia under Operation Kaukledm.
The Palauan patrol boat PSS PRESIDENT REMELIK, USCGC WASHINGTON and aircraft contracted with Australia’s Defense Cooperation Program conducted patrols within Palau’s Exclusive Economic zone (EEZ) and territorial seas.
The joint operation focused on the deterrence of illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, preservation of living marine resources, and enforcement of Palau’s fishing laws. The Coast Guard exercises the use of bilateral agreements with Pacific Island nations, which allows the host nation to have a ship rider on board a Coast Guard asset and provides the ability to enforce the nation’s fisheries laws.
During this operation over 66,000 square nautical miles were patrolled, six commercial fishing vessels were boarded, and five illegal fish aggregating devices were dismantled. The trilateral efforts of Operation Kaukledm identified 16 other illegal FADS being used that will be destroyed at a later date along with identifying multiple foreign registered vessels illegally fishing within Palau’s EEZ. With such dynamic assets being used during Operation Kaukledm they were also able to assist with a suspected vessel with the Belau Drug Enforcement Taskforce of Palau and medically evacuate a patient from a vessel to a local hospital.
The USCGC WASHINGTON also conducted training with the Palau Police Division of Marine Law Enforcement in order to further develop their skills and develop the continuity of conducting future law enforcement operations within the region.
This has been a long awaited patrol and is vital to the working relationship between countries. Conducting joint operations with Palau and Australia allows for standardized communication, capacity building and the preservation of resources that are vital to the western pacific region.