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NEWS | May 31, 2022

Coast Guard Assists in Patrolling Solomon Islands Exclusive Economic Zone

By Petty Officer 3rd Class David Graham U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The Coast Guard assisted the Solomon Islands this week by patrolling their exclusive economic zone while maintenance was being conducted on the Royal Solomon Islands Police Vessel Taro.

The Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) crew helped to fill the operational presence needed by conducting maritime surveillance to deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the northern Solomon Islands.

“Through Operation Blue Pacific, the United States Coast Guard looks for opportunities to assist our regional partners with maritime governance and security,” said Capt. Craig O’Brien, chief of response of Coast Guard District 14. “Working closely with the Forum Fisheries Agency and the government of Solomon Islands, it was a privilege for the United States Coast Guard to assist the Solomon Islands while their police vessel was down for maintenance.”

This operation was made possible by coordination between the Coast Guard, the Solomon Islands’ Commissioner of Police, Assistant Commissioner of Police, and the Deputy Commissioner for National Security and Operations.

Before diverting to the Solomon Islands, the Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard was already deployed on an expeditionary patrol spanning five different Pacific Island Countries (PIC) and the high seas in support of Operation Blue Pacific.

Operation Blue Pacific is an overarching multi-mission Coast Guard endeavor promoting security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania while strengthening relationships between partners in the region with an emphasis on deterring IUU fishing.

IUU fishing has replaced piracy as the leading global maritime security threat and has the potential to jeopardize the efforts of PICs to conserve fish stocks, an important renewable resource in the region.

“Maintaining maritime governance in Oceania with our partners is essential in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said O’Brien. “It is through this collaborative effort and our ability to join forces that we are able to support regional economic prosperity and individual sovereignty.”

With a population of approximately 40 million people covering an area of 12.2 million square nautical miles, the Coast Guard and its international partners regularly patrol Oceania to protect and support those who call it home.
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