Commandant of the Coast Guard Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp recently visited the Kingdom of Bahrain for an annual visit to Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia and to meet with key maritime partners.
Today, in the South Atlantic, maintaining international law is a collaborative effort involving a maritime presence from 15 countries. These 15 countries contribute to the multinational detection, monitoring and interdiction operation working together to deny transnational criminal organizations the ability to exploit transshipment routes for the movement of narcotics, precursor chemicals, bulk cash and weapons along Central American shipping routes.
As a member of Maritime Safety and Security Team Seattle, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Ball has seen his fare share of challenging missions. But one recent exercise had Ball far outside of his comfort zone during the Mangudai Warrior Challenge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
In 2009 the U.S secretary of Homeland Security and the Canadian minister of public safety signed the framework agreement on maritime law enforcement operations between Canada and the United States, which allows the Coast Guard and the RCMP to work side-by-side enforcing laws in U.S. and Canadian waters. These operations represent a truly cooperative approach to combating cross-border crime on the shared waterways of Canada and the United States.
“Now, go-fast, go-fast, go-fast. All hands set the go-fast bill.” Early in the afternoon on Oct. 9, 2013, 20 nautical miles off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico, this announcement was heard over every intercom speaker on board Coast Guard Cutter Rush after an Air Station Sacramento HC-130 Hercules airplane sighted two suspicious vessels.
What happens when the U.S. Coast Guard partners with the Royal Navy? An estimated wholesale value of $16 million worth of drugs never made it on the streets. The interdiction of 2,155 pounds of marijuana and 420 kilograms of cocaine stemmed from two separate interdictions near San Andres, Colombia. The first interdiction involved the Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team aboard.
The vigilance and dedication of law enforcement crews was seen firsthand off the coast of San Diego as U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection crews worked together to disrupt a drug smuggling attempt approximately 90 miles southwest of San Diego. After a CBP aircraft detected the panga with two people aboard, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Sector San Diego, a 45-foot response boat from Station San Diego and the patrol boat Coast Guard Cutter Haddock were dispatched to intercept the panga.
The last MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to Cordova, Alaska, for the summer season returned to its home base of Kodiak closing out a season of lifesaving. Throughout the deployment, which started May 1, 2013, aircrews out of forward operating location Cordova flew on 26 cases, saved 11 and assisted 18.
Coast Guard members learn how to pursue and neutralize fleeing vessels in a course known as Noncompliant Vessel Pursuit, or NCVP. The course, designed for boat drivers as well as boat crewmembers, teaches Coast Guard men and women how to approach a vessel that may be in violation of a federal law such as drug or migrant smuggling.
If you speak with Coast Guardsmen from the 1st Coast Guard District – stretching from the Canadian border in Maine to northern New Jersey – about the missions they routinely perform, you will likely get a standard answer from just about every member: search and rescue, recreational boating safety, aids to navigation, ports waterways and coastal security, living marine resource enforcement and ice breaking. But if you ask the crew underway aboard Coast Guard Cutter Dependable last week, they would answer counter drug operations.