Coast Guard, Brazil navy conduct engagements to strengthen partnership

Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton file photo by Ensign Maya Gause

Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton file photo by Ensign Maya Gause

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The U.S. Coast Guard hosted members of the Brazilian navy on three occasions in November throughout the Southeastern United States.

“We sincerely appreciate the NE Brasil (U27) leadership’s hospitality and willingness to engage,” said Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. “While international engagements have been difficult due to COVID-19, the U.S. Coast Guard’s desire and enthusiasm for engagements with partners has not waned. Our ability to safely and effectively sustain international partnerships, with the close support of U.S. interagency partners such as the State Department, is critically important. The work we do together is too important to delay. These engagements help lay the foundation for further operations in the coming months.”

Jacksonville and Houston Galveston’s sector commanders engaged the NE Brasil command on partner nation priorities: countering illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, drug and transnational organized crime, and alien migrant interdiction operations. They also raised shared U.S. Coast Guard missions like cruise ship inspections and operations, marine licensing, and incident management. These informal engagements and discussions with frontline operators deepened partner understanding of the U.S. Coast Guard while setting a strong foundation for continued operational and strategic partnerships with Brazil.

U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman, said, “The United States and Brazil share a relationship spanning over two centuries. We continue the work of deepening that relationship and expanding it as we face new challenges for both our countries. The engagement by Brazil with our Coast Guard is one more example of this effort to ensure our partnership delivers tangible results for U.S. and Brazilian citizens.”

On Nov. 6, Sector Jacksonville held an arrival ceremony in Mayport, Fla., for the Brazilian training ship NE Brasil (U27), attended by the crews of USCGCs Maria Bray (WLM 562), Hammer (WLIC 75302), Tarpon (WPB 87310), and Heron (WPB 87344). Capt. Mark Vlaun, commanding officer of Sector Jacksonville, held discussions with Capt. Carlos Considera, Brasil’s commanding officer, and met with Capt. Mario Lobo Junior, the Assistant Naval Attaché in Washington.

On Nov. 15, USCGC Charles Sexton (WPC 1108) participated in a wreath-laying ceremony with the NE Brasil and Navy’s USS Zephyr (PC 8) near Key West, Fla. The ceremony was in remembrance of the loss of the R-12 submarine (SS 89). On June 12, 1943, the R-12 foundered while conducting a practice approach resulting in the death of the 40 sailors and two Brazilian observers aboard.

On Nov. 19, Sector Houston-Galveston leadership, Capt. Jason Smith, commanding officer, Capt. Keith Donohue, and Command Master Chief Robert Gonzales, welcomed the Brasil crew and embarked Capt. Considera and Command Master Chief Ricardo Santos on a U.S. Coast Guard response boat for a port tour.

“This effort builds on our existing staff talks and provides additional links for more at our regional and tactical unit levels,” said Rear Adm. Keith Smith, deputy commander, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. “Our mutual areas of understanding, trust, and partnership enhance the effectiveness of our efforts. Further, these efforts help all parties improve maritime stewardship and economic prosperity for both our nations. These ongoing talks and communique may be virtual when necessary, but we look forward to the value they provide and to building on Maritime Staff Talks in August 2021.”

This was Brasil’s first recent visit to the United States. These port calls intend to familiarize Brazilian midshipmen with the United States’ people and culture. The United States and Brazil enjoy robust political and economic relations. The United States was the first country to recognize Brazil’s independence in 1822. As the two largest democracies and economies in the Western Hemisphere, the United States and Brazil have a partnership rooted in a shared commitment to expand economic growth and prosperity; promote international peace, security, and respect for human rights; and strengthen defense and security cooperation.

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