Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry completes at-sea fisheries enforcement patrol off Hawaii

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) crew conducts a boarding from their 26-foot over-the-horizon small boat off the Hawaiian Islands Dec. 19, 2017. The crew was on their first Living Marine Resources patrol since commissioning the vessel Oct. 31. 
(U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry crew conducts a boarding from their 26-foot over-the-horizon small boat off the Hawaiian Islands Dec. 19, 2017.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

HONOLULU — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124), a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter homeported in Honolulu, recently completed a 10-day patrol of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the Hawaiian Islands region. They conducted six boardings on Hawaii-based, U.S.-flagged long-line fishing vessels and issued eight safety and fisheries regulations violations.

“Oliver Berry is ideally suited for challenging offshore conditions in the Main Hawaiian Islands. The crew performed admirably in the heavy seas we encountered and when launching and recovering our standardized small boats from the stern to conduct boardings. We are specifically designed for several missions including search and rescue and fisheries enforcement. We greatly improve the Coast Guard’s on water presence with more range and operational hours over our predecessor, the 110-foot patrol boats,” said Lt. Kenneth Franklin, commanding officer, Oliver Berry.

Oliver Berry’s crew enforced fishery regulations in the region, to ensure the estimated $7 billion industry, which provides more than half of the global tuna commercial catch, remains sustainable. Boarding teams also ensured crews are in compliance with federal and state regulations regarding all required lifesaving equipment. Citations were issued when applicable, requiring master’s to correct discrepancies. This is a critical role in the Coast Guard’s mission to preserve a natural resource, highly migratory fish stocks, essential to the fishermen and economy of not only the United States, but many Pacific nations.

On Dec. 19, while conducting a boarding of a U.S.-flagged longline fishing vessel, the boarding team suspected a foreign national was acting as the vessel captain and operating the vessel. The operation of a U.S.-flagged commercial fishing vessel by a foreign national is illegal. After an investigation, the vessel was cited for the alleged manning violation also known as a paper captain and the evidence was forwarded to the Coast Guard Hearing Office for further review and possible legal action. The penalty for operating with a paper captain once their documentation has been voided is a civil fine of up to $15,000 per day.

The Oliver Berry crew also hosted several members of the Hawaii County government and the Hilo-based Navy League during a port visit in Hilo. The crew showcased the capabilities of the cutter’s 26-foot over-the-horizon small boat and advanced command and control electronics to demonstrate how the newest Fast Response Cutter will benefit Hawaii County, while based in Honolulu.

“We all enjoyed engaging with our local government partners in Hilo and explaining how our cutter can assist in future search and rescue or law enforcement cases near the Big Island. Our goal is always to build stronger relationships between all our partners throughout the state,” said Lt. j.g. Peter Driscoll, executive officer, Cutter Oliver Berry.

Oliver Berry is designed for multiple missions, including law enforcement and search and rescue. Oliver Berry has advanced seakeeping abilities and can achieve speeds in excess of 28 knots, with an endurance of five days.

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