The USCGC Stone (WMSL 758), one of the U.S Coast Guard’s flagship vessels, will sail into Guyanese waters as part of an operation against illegal fishing that covers the south Atlantic region.
In a statement, the U.S. Coast Guard said the ship departed from Pascagoula, Mississippi, just ahead of Christmas, for what will me a multi-month deployment.
The Coast guard said the exercise is intended to counter illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing while strengthening relationships for maritime sovereignty and security throughout the region.
“The brand new Legend-class national security cutter, one of the U.S. Coast Guard’s flagships, will provide a presence and support national security objectives throughout the Atlantic.
“This patrol is the cutter’s initial shakedown cruise following its delivery in November,” the Coast Guard stated.
The exercise will cover Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Portugal.
“I am very proud of the professional men and women I serve alongside. It is no easy feat to assemble a crew and ready a cutter for sea – but this crew has had to perform this difficult task while observing protective measures associated with the Coronavirus-19 pandemic.
“The crew and I look forward to this historic first voyage, as Stone begins a storied career of service to this nation. While balancing training and qualification requirements, Stone’s crew will engage with partner nations in South America in a like-minded pursuit to curb illegal fishing tactics,” said Captain Adam Morrison, commanding officer of USCGC Stone (WMSL 758).
The Coast Guard said Operation Southern Cross is conducted in conjunction with U.S. Southern Command, charged with managing operations in Central and South America by working collaboratively to ensure the Western Hemisphere is secure, free, and prosperous.
In September 2020, the Coast Guard released the Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) Fishing Strategic Outlook, which reaffirmed it’s commitment to global maritime security, regional stability, and economic prosperity.
“The U.S. Coast Guard is committed to the protection of living marine resources. IUU fishing threatens fish stock’s health and adversely impacts those who follow global norms and national laws.
“This is a global issue, and IUU is a problem too big for any one nation. Only by working together can we protect livelihoods, ensure ports remain economically productive, and support and sustainable fisheries industry. Stone’s patrol demonstrates our commitment to the established rules-based order while addressing IUU fishing wherever a Coast Guard cutter is deployed,” said Vice Admiral Steven Poulin, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area.