HONOLULU — The Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC-1124) returned to homeport in Honolulu after a mission in the Pacific to curtail illegal fishing and increase maritime law enforcement self-sufficiency with international partners, the Coast Guard 14th District said in an Oct. 30 release.
The crew of the Oliver Berry traveled in a first-of-its-kind round-trip patrol spanning from Sept. 12 to Oct. 27, 2020, from Hawaii to Guam, covering a distance of approximately 9,300 miles during their journey.
“Traveling just under 10,000 nautical miles, we [CGC Oliver Berry] operated further from our homeport than any other FRC to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in portions of Oceania,” said Ensign Michael Meisenger, weapons officer on the Oliver Berry.
The Oliver Berry collaborated with the governments of Republic of the Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia, strengthening maritime domain awareness and resource security within their Exclusive Economic Zones. An EEZ is an area of coastal water within a certain distance of a country’s coastline for which the country claims exclusive rights for drilling, fishing, and other economic ventures.
The Oliver Berry aided international enforcement efforts by sending observational reports and imagery to the Maritime Security Advisors and the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency, Regional Fisheries Surveillance Center, thereby increasing mission success and showcasing the Coast Guard’s unwavering commitment to partner nations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We worked to increase awareness of unlawful fishing operations in remote portions of the United States, Republic of Marshall Islands, and Federated States of Micronesia’s EEZs, and on the high seas,” said Meisenger. “We executed 19 observation reports on fishing vessels, six of which had not been previously contacted by the Coast Guard.”
Fast Response Cutters are equipped with new advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, and boast greater range and endurance compared to their predecessors, the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats.
The FRCs represent the Coast Guard’s commitment to modernizing service assets and maintaining a strong presence and support for a free and open Indo-Pacific. Oceania covers an area of 3.3 million square miles and has a population of approximately 40 million people. Its melting pot of cultures depends on the living marine resources and maritime commerce to allow their people to thrive.
The Coast Guard combats illegal fishing and other maritime threats across the Pacific to protect their resource security and sovereignty. Combating illegal fishing is part of promoting maritime governance and a rules-based international order that is essential to a free and open Oceania.