Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley returns from 90-day North Pacific Guard patrol

Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley’s boarding team stands atop a 5.6 mile driftnet found aboard the fishing vessel Run Da in the North Pacific Ocean, June 16, 2018. The Alex Haley crew detained the Run Da after it was suspected of illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing activity in international waters 860 miles east of Hokkaido, Japan. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Jerry Wong.

Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley’s boarding team stands atop a 5.6 mile driftnet found aboard the fishing vessel Run Da in the North Pacific Ocean, June 16, 2018.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Jerry Wong.

KODIAK, Alaska – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley returned to Kodiak Wednesday, following a 90-day deployment patrolling more than 18,000 nautical miles throughout the Pacific Ocean, including transits through the Aleutian Islands, Tokyo Bay and the Sea of Japan.

Alex Haley’s crew departed Kodiak on May 3, and transited to Yokohama, Japan, for joint operations with members of the Japan coast guard surrounding their 70th anniversary. The crewmembers were welcomed by the Japan coast guard band and a reception at the Yokohama Maritime Disaster Prevention Base.

The events culminated in an official parade of ships before the Japan coast guard commandant and the Japanese prime minister, featuring 30 ships sailing in close formation. Participating assets ranged from high-endurance cutters to small patrol vessels and featured overflights from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The Alex Haley was the only foreign ship invited to participate in the parade.

Following their visit to Japan, Alex Haley deployed in support of the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum, a multi-national effort where the United States partners with Canada, China, Japan, Russia and the Republic of Korea to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activity.

During the fisheries enforcement patrol, Alex Haley crewmembers and officers from the People’s Republic of China coast guard conducted a joint international boarding on June 16 of the Chinese-flagged fishing vessel Run Da suspected of violating the worldwide driftnet moratorium.

The captain of the Run Da admitted to fishing with driftnets up to 5.6 miles in length. The joint boarding team discovered one ton of squid and 80 tons of chum salmon on board.

The joint U.S. and China high seas boarding and inspection was conducted pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Effective Cooperation and Implementation of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/215 of December 20, 1991.

The MOU, signed Dec. 3, 1993, established boarding procedures for law enforcement officials of either country to board and inspect U.S. or Chinese-flagged vessels suspected of high seas driftnet fishing. The MOU also established a shiprider program, which permits Chinese fisheries enforcement officials to embark on U.S. Coast Guard vessels or aircraft.

Alex Haley crew members assisted with the vessel detention and escorted the vessel to the Sea of Japan, where vessel custody was transferred to the Chinese coast guard for adjudication. The PRC has jurisdiction for any enforcement actions taken against the vessel, master and owner.

The People’s Republic of China has provided 111 enforcement officials to the U.S. Coast Guard for joint fisheries enforcement operations since the MOU first entered into force in 1993. This cooperation has led to 22 interdictions and enforcement actions against vessels engaged in large-scale, high seas driftnet fishing activity.

“The success of this patrol, from the parade of ships to the capture of the Run Da, from sailing to Japan, Hawaii, and back, is all a testament to the strength and character of the crew aboard the Alex Haley,” said Cmdr. Jon Kreischer, Alex Haley’s commanding officer. “Without their expertise and hard work, this patrol would not have had the same impressive outcome.”

The Alex Haley is a 282-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Kodiak, with a crew of 105 personnel. The crew aboard the Alex Haley conduct homeland security, search and rescue, and international and domestic fisheries enforcement missions in the Bering Sea and other Alaskan waters.

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