HONOLULU — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) conducted a port call in Honolulu after completing the first stage of its expeditionary patrol in the Pacific to curtail illegal fishing and strengthen maritime law enforcement self-sufficiency with Kiribati partners, the Coast Guard 14th District said in a Jan. 12 release.
The crew of the Joseph Gerczak traveled from Dec. 28, 2020, to Jan. 3, 2021, from Hawaii to Kiribati, covering a distance of approximately 2,400 miles.
“We’re working to increase awareness of unlawful fishing operations in remote territories of the United States, the Pacific, and the Republic of Kiribati’s exclusive economic zones,” said Lt. James Provost, commanding officer of the Joseph Gerczak. “Over the course of our patrol we queried one Chinese fishing vessel while enforcing Kiribati’s sovereignty.”
As part of Operation Blue Pacific Task Force, the crew of the Joseph Gerczak deployed in support of strategic national security goals of stability and security throughout the Indo-Pacific.
The crew of the Joseph Gerczak used intelligence-driven enforcement actions, counter predatory and irresponsible maritime behavior, and expanded multilateral fisheries enforcement cooperation.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing results in tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue to legal fishers every year. IUU operates without legal constraints, avoids overhead licensing costs, and often falsifies their documentation creating an unfair advantage.
The Coast Guard combats illegal fishing and other maritime threats across the Pacific to protect the United States and Pacific Island Countries 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.
Oceania covers an area of 3.3 million square miles and has a population of approximately 40 million diverse people.
“Effective maritime domain awareness requires unprecedented information sharing,” said Cmdr. Jason Brand, chief of enforcement, Coast Guard District 14. “We are eager to collaborate with Kiribati on initiatives of common interest.”
Fast Response Cutters, such as the Joseph Gerczak, are outfitted with new and advanced command, communications, control, computers, intelligence, and surveillance systems and boast greater range and endurance compared to their forerunner, the 30-year old 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. Like their predecessors, the FRCs are designed as multi-mission platforms ranging from maritime law enforcement to search and rescue.