An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Oct. 28, 2022

U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam Ensures Safety of Port of Guam through Boardings, Exams

By Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia / Sector Guam

SANTA RITA, Guam -- To ensure port security and safety of both the port and mariners, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam conducted a boarding and exam of the 370-foot Tuvalu-flagged motor vessel Kenyo in the vicinity of Guam in mid-October.

"This effort ensures the security and safety of the vessel, crew, and the port," Cmdr. Greg Sickels, acting commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and the acting captain of the port. "The Port of Guam handles over 90 percent of total imports to the island, and it has far-reaching effects for the community here and throughout Micronesia."

The Sector Boarding Team first contacted the Kenyo and boarded the ship 13 miles offshore to confirm the safety and security of the vessel and crew. This visit is the Kenyo's first time calling on a U.S. port, thus requiring a U.S. Coast Guard boarding before arrival.

"The vessel crew was compliant, and we verified there were no issues with their documentation or the crew composition before they arrived in port," said Ensign Ronnie Rivera, the Sector Boarding Team supervisor. "Ensuring the security of our ports, waterways, and coastal infrastructure is important, especially here in Guam where the port plays such a vital role. We have excellent relationships with our port partners."

The Kenyo, carrying cement, was then attended in port by U.S. Coast Guard vessel inspectors under the port state control program. Port state control is the inspection of foreign-flagged ships in national ports to verify that the ship's material condition and equipment comply with domestic and international security, safety, and environmental standards and that the ship is crewed and operated in compliance with these rules. The Kenyo crew did well with their drills. They required minor fixes to some equipment and a class review of their emergency steering to compliance before departure.

The U.S. Coast Guard port state control program has existed since 1994, and the primary goal of these exams is safety. The safety of the crew and the safety of the ports they operate. The inspectors will review certificates and documentation, evaluate the vessel's condition, and run safety drills such as firefighting and abandoning the ship with the crew. At times the vessel crew may be detained and required to make repairs or updates to the ship before it is allowed to sail again. On average, the Guam-based inspectors conduct over 120 port state control exams annually.

The SBTs are new. That's not to say the unit did not conduct security boardings before 2021, but the team's composition has grown, and they conduct more operations. Depending on vessel traffic, the SBT executes between 30 and 50 boardings annually.

"We established the Sector Boarding Team in the summer of 2021, so we're about a year old," said Rivera. "The SBTs stood up due to the increased focus on Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, established heightened security measures to minimize the risk to vessels, facilities, and the port from acts of terrorism and other threats."

Establishing the SBTs, which deploy as a minimum six-person team, also increases officer safety for the personnel conducting the mission. Previously, many sectors conducted security boardings with four-person Vessel Boarding Security Teams which are being phased out or augmented by other U.S. government organizations with boarding authorities such as Customs and Border Security.

All these actions occur under the U.S. Coast Guard captain of the port's authority, which comes from the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. The Ports and Waterways Safety Authority, 46 U.S.C. Chapter 700, as implemented in Title 33 CFR, Part 160, requires certain vessels to provide an Advance Notice of Arrival to the Coast Guard's National Vessel Movement Center before entering the navigable waters of the United States, or to any port or place under the jurisdiction of the United States including its territories like Guam.

The information provided via the ANOA comprises a portion of the Coast Guard's information to evaluate the safety, security, or environmental risks the vessel may pose. Additionally, the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 requires the Coast Guard to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-terrorism measures in foreign ports. It also provides for the imposition of conditions of entry on vessels, regardless of the flag state, arriving in the United States from countries that do not maintain effective anti-terrorism measures.

Based on an evaluation of this and several other criteria, the U.S. Coast Guard may select a vessel to receive an offshore High Interest Vessel security boarding before entering the United States. As with the Kenyo, a security boarding must occur any time a ship makes its first entry to the U.S. The Service continuously evaluates and updates the offshore HIV security boarding criteria. When selected for boarding, the Service will place a captain of the port order on the vessel requiring them to remain offshore until a Coast Guard security boarding takes place. If a vessel master violates a captain of the port order, severe civil and potential criminal penalties may be applied.

The U.S. Coast Guard is sensitive to impacts and delays to maritime commerce and aims to conduct these boardings with minimal disruption to a vessel's schedule whenever possible. The Kenyo was met offshore and continued toward Guam at a slow speed during the boarding, which took less than an hour. U.S. Coast Guard boarding teams will make every effort to conduct these security boardings before a vessel embarks a pilot for further transit to a U.S. port or destination. However, at times and where appropriate, recurrent boardings will occur based on a combination of risk factors for each vessel.

U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam comprises nearly 300 personnel conducting response and prevention departments with administrative and logistics support to the Joint Rescue Sub-Center, three fast response cutters, and a small boat station. The unit provides a significant portion of the U.S. Coast Guard's enduring regional presence serving the people of the Pacific by conducting 10 of the Service's 11 statutory missions with a focus on search and rescue, defense readiness, living marine resources protection, and ensuring commerce through marine safety and ports, waterways, and coastal security.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook and Instagram @USCGForcesMicronesia or on Twitter @USCGFMSG.

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
337,297
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducts HA/DR exercise as part of CARAT/MAREX 2023
MULLIKULAM, Sri Lanka (Jan. 23, 2023) – U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Gage Wesley, a water support technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 13, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, gives a Sri Lanka Navy medical officer a sample of fresh water from a lightweight water purification system during a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief exercise, Jan. 23, in Mullikulam. CARAT/MAREX Sri Lanka is a bilateral exercise between Sri Lanka and the United States designed to promote regional security cooperation, practice humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and strengthen maritime understanding, partnerships, and interoperability. In its 28th year, the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises, designed to enhance U.S. and partner forces’ abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brendan Custer)
Feb. 1, 2023 - U.S. Marines and Sailors with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) scenario as part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training/Marine Exercise (CARAT/MAREX)...

U.S., Indian Airmen train side by side to sharpen airlift skills
U.S. Air Force 535th Airlift Squadron and the Indian Air Force No. 81 Squadron personnel pose for a photo during Exercise COPE INDIA 2022 at Hindan Air Base, India Nov. 18, 2022. (Courtesy photo)
Feb. 1, 2023 - On the morning of Nov. 18, 2022, with the sun peeking through a hazy horizon, the residents of Hindan Air Base, near New Delhi in northern India, were greeted by a new sight. Parked next to a neatly aligned row of Indian Air...

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Travels to Fiji
Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, traveled to Fiji Jan. 30-31, to reaffirm the strength of the bilateral relationship and advance shared interests in building a more peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
Feb. 1, 2023 - SUVA, Fiji – Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, traveled to Fiji Jan. 30-31, to reaffirm the strength of the bilateral relationship and advance shared interests in building a more peaceful, stable,...

U.S., South Korea Want Peace in Indo-Pacific
Jan. 31, 2023 - Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III stressed that the goal of the U.S.-South Korean alliance is peace — not conflict — following meetings in Seoul, South Korea, today.The secretary made the remarks at a news conference...

U.S. Army Advisors Strengthen Partnership in Thailand
Sgt. 1st Class Justin Babb takes part in close quarters battle rehearsals with members of the Royal Thai Army. Babb is part of an SFAB Team assigned to Force Package 23-1, the 5th SFAB's forward-deployed element.
Jan. 31, 2023 - NAKHON NAYOK, Thailand – Three Advisor Teams from 2nd Battalion, 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade partnered with the Royal Thai Army across Thailand during a multi-month rotation into theater beginning in October 2022...