Coast Guard conducts gold dredge boardings in Nome, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska News
NOME, Alaska — Coast Guard Sector Anchorage and Coast Guard Station Valdez personnel deployed to Nome to conduct at-sea boardings of recreational and fishing vessels in the area July 30, 2014.

The eight-person crew and 25-foot Response Boat – Small deployed to Nome via Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane and are continuing to conduct boardings of recreational and fishing vessels as part of Operation Gold Nugget, an offshoot of Arctic Shield 2014.

Petty Officer 1st Class Pete Harwell and Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Purcell, both maritime enforcement specialists with Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, conduct a law enforcement boarding aboard a gold dredge vessel near Nome, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2014. Boardings are conducted to ensure that vessel crews are operating safely and complying with environmental regulations. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

Petty Officer 1st Class Pete Harwell and Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Purcell, both maritime enforcement specialists with Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, conduct a law enforcement boarding aboard a gold dredge vessel near Nome, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

The crew consists of four personnel from Station Valdez, who are trained to operate the RBS, and four law enforcement personnel from Sector Anchorage’s enforcement department, who are trained to conduct law enforcement boardings and check for safety and environmental violations on vessels.

“One focus of Operation Gold Nugget is the abundance of gold dredge vessels operating in Nome,” said Cmdr. Decker, chief of response, Sector Anchorage. “Our crews are there to make sure that all the mariners involved in that enterprise are operating safely.”

Categorized as recreational vessels, the floating gold dredges are required to conform to federal regulations that the Coast Guard enforces.

“Our rigorous work schedule has resulted in 42 boardings during our trip, with more to come,” said Lt. j.g. Laura Gadziala, the lead boarding officer. “So far that is more than a 200 percent increase from the amount of boardings we were able to conduct last year.”

Operation Gold Nugget is a small part of the Coast Guard 17th District’s Arctic Shield 2014 operation and is helping the Coast Guard advance Arctic maritime domain awareness through operations, intelligence and partnerships.

Click the photo for more from the operation.

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