Coast Guard Cutter Washington returns from Pacific deployment

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard NewsApra Harbor, GUAM – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Washington, a 110-foot patrol boat, returned from a patrol to the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau, Sept. 16, 2012.

During their 12-day deployment, the Washington crew conducted community engagements and law enforcement patrols within the Exclusive Economic Zones of the United States, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in an effort to strengthen regional partnerships throughout the Pacific.

One visit included a stop in Falalop, in the Ulithi Atoll to deliver humanitarian supplies including four outboard motors, water containers, rice, books and clothing.

The crew visited Koror and hosted the U.S. ambassador to Palau, the Honorable Helen Reed-Rowe. The ambassador thanked the crew for a fisheries seizure made in May 2012 as part of a joint U.S.-Palau operation to crackdown on illegal fishing throughout the region.

“This mission was a complete success and we hope to make these types of deployments more frequently as we build stronger partnerships throughout the region,” said Lt. Nate MacKenzie, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Washington. “It’s important to remember that fish stocks are a shared concern. The only way to effectively protect our mutual interests in this region is to work together.”

Throughout the deployment the crew conducted coxswain, ship log, weapons qualifications and navigation training.

Despite the success of the deployment, the crew of the 23-year-old ship encountered foul weather and mechanical issues. The crew had to replace the control unit on the open bridge during the patrol. At one point during the deployment the crew had to seek shelter behind several small islands to avoid a monsoon in the area.

The Cutter Washington is one of many Coast Guard ships soon to be replaced by the new 154-foot Fast Response Cutters. The new ship will give the Coast Guard the dual advantage of state of the art technology and increased sea keeping ability, both of which are much needed in the unique environment of the Western Pacific.

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