LAUTOKA, Fiji - Crew members aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752) moored Thursday in Lautoka, marking the cutter's first international port call in U.S. 7th Fleet.
Stratton, a 418-foot National Security Cutter, departed its homeport of Alameda, California, June 5 to forward-deploy to the Western Pacific. Operating under the tactical control of commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, the cutter and crew are engaging in professional exchanges and capacity building exercises with partner nations and patrolling and conducting operations as directed.
While underway, Stratton's crew exercised the recently signed Fiji-U.S. bilateral shiprider agreement, which allows enforcement authorities from the two nations to jointly counter illicit activity at sea. Together, Stratton's crew and an embarked Fijian fisheries officer, Josaia Maiwai, patrolled the United States and Fijian Exclusive Economic Zones.
"The United States is firmly committed to building on our countries' shared interest in governance and security in the maritime commons," said Capt. Bob Little, commanding officer of the Stratton. "Fiji has proven to be a strong partner in our efforts to counter transnational criminal activity in the Pacific such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. We are making great strides in our ability to jointly protect our sovereign resources from those who do not recognize international laws."
While in port, the crew will have opportunities to explore Fiji and interact with local citizens through cultural and professional exchanges, community relations projects and island tours.