Coast Guard Cutter Munro returns home after successful patrol with international partners

Coast Guard Alaska News
KODIAK, Alaska — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Munro returned to their homeport in Kodiak Sunday after completing a lengthy North Pacific Ocean patrol to interdict vessels engaged in illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

High seas drift netting practices employ the use of large mono-filament line nets that indiscriminately catch all sea life in their path including whales, dolphins, sea turtles and seabirds. This type of fishing is so destructive to fish stocks it has been condemned by many nations worldwide. In response to these concerns the UN General Assembly in 1992 passed Resolution 46/215 creating an international moratorium on high seas drift net fishing and IUU fishing.

Munro crewmembers conducted the more than 80-day patrol with partners from the Chinese Fisheries Law Enforcement Command, the Japanese coast guard and the Russian Federal Security Service.

While underway the crew gathered information on more than 600 sighted vessels and conducting fisheries enforcement boardings to ensure the vessels and crews were in compliance with international regulations. They also conducted cultural exchanges with the three partner nation’s representatives to share best practices and to streamline communications processes for conducting this type of law enforcement activity.

“Our crewmembers enjoyed the opportunity for the cultural exchanges as well as the opportunity to broaden horizons and help build lasting ties between the three nations,” said Lt. Greg Isbell, operations officer, aboard Munro. “Interaction with our partners was a welcome addition to crew’s day to day routines.”

The exchanges included discussions and comparisons of law enforcement tactics, valuable information about what to expect when boarding foreign-flagged vessels and coordinated schedules and communication plans leading to a faster means of relaying real-time intelligence pictures of suspect vessels.

As a result of these annual joint patrols several vessels have been interdicted and turned over to fisheries agencies in China and the U.S. for prosecution. These vessels include the 140-foot Bangun Perkasa operating off the coast of Japan in 2011 and the 177-foot fishing vessel Da Cheng 850 miles east of Tokyo in 2012.

The Munro is a 378-foot high endurance cutter from Kodiak. They are the only high endurance cutter stationed in Alaska. The ship’s crew of more than 150 people, are responsible for search and rescue, law enforcement, living marine resource, and security missions throughout the North Pacific Ocean.

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