Seattle-based Coast Guard MSST teams deploy to Alaska

Two Seattle-based Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) 29-foot Response Boat-Smalls sit on a barge ready to deploy for use in Sitka, Alaska, June 30, 2020. Coast Guard MSST teams are scheduled to conduct waterborne missions in Sitka throughout July and August as Sector Juneau augments its capabilities with small boat teams from MSST-Seattle. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Joseph Wozniak.

Two Seattle-based Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) 29-foot Response Boat-Smalls sit on a barge ready to deploy for use in Sitka, Alaska, June 30, 2020. . U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Joseph Wozniak.

SITKA, Alaska – The Coast Guard is scheduled to conduct waterborne missions in Sitka throughout July and August as Coast Guard Sector Juneau augments its capabilities with small boat teams from Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team-Seattle.

Mission goals include search and rescue, recreational and commercial vessel safety, and the protection of Alaska’s living marine resources. The Coast Guard will maintain a regular presence on the water and conduct routine boardings at sea.

“The Coast Guard is carefully planning operations with an elevated awareness of the threat the current global pandemic poses to Alaskan communities,” said Cmdr. Byron Hayes, the Sector Juneau Chief of Response, whose duties include all search and rescue, pollution response, and law enforcement operations in Southeast Alaska. “We are excited to serve the city of Sitka this summer, and are fully committed to taking hypervigilant precautions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 as we prepare for increased boating traffic.”

Coast Guard Sector Juneau’s detailed plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 includes all team members being tested for COVID-19 and self-isolating before deployment to Sitka. Upon arrival in Sitka, the team will limit contact with others until the second test results at the appropriate time interval are confirmed negative. The team will be wearing personal protective equipment, including N95 masks and latex gloves when performing operations or interacting with the public. All members will practice social distancing in accordance with state health mandates and guidance for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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