U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Dan Abel, commander of the U.S. 1st Coast Guard District, and Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown, commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police “J” Division, met at U.S. Coast Guard Station Eastport, Maine, to formally sign the Eastern Region International Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations, also known as Shiprider, standard operating procedures, on Tuesday.
The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and the Canadian Minister of Public Safety signed a framework agreement on maritime law enforcement operations between the U.S. and Canada in 2009, which allows the U.S. Coast Guard and the RCMP to work side by side enforcing laws in U.S. and Canadian waters.
These operations provide a cooperative approach to combating cross-border crime on the shared waterways of the U.S. and Canada. The Shiprider program removes the international maritime boundary as a barrier to law enforcement by enabling seamless continuity of enforcement and security operations across the U.S. and Canadian border. Shiprider operations offer the U.S. and Canada greater flexibility to conduct law enforcement operations and creates a significant impact to border enforcement.
“Shiprider will provide both the U.S. Coast Guard and RCMP the opportunity to increase our presence on the water,” said Brown. “This will exponentially increase the law enforcement capabilities with minimal impact to budgets or manpower.”
Boarding officers from Station Eastport and the RCMP “J” Division conducted five patrols, querying 43 vessels which resulted in 18 boardings in the vicinity of the St. Croix River and the Bay of Fundy in 2013. This initial program laid the foundation for the regional standard operating procedure between the U.S. 1st Coast Guard District, and the RCMP “J” Division, ensuring the continuation of the program.
All U.S. and Canadian officers designated as Shiprider-qualified receive extensive bi-national U.S. and Canadian enforcement training at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in South Carolina.
“This program allows the Coast Guard to work closely with the RCMP to protect our mutual border,” said Abel. “Through this partnership we are better able to protect the citizens of both the U.S. and Canada from cross-border crime.”
Press Release, April 9, 2014; Image: USCG