At a media event on Tuesday, U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Mounted Police students demonstrated a vessel boarding exercise for their “Shiprider” training at the Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Academy located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers in Charleston, S.C.
The graduation ceremony Wednesday marks the culmination of eight days of maritime law enforcement–based curriculum designed to familiarize students in combating cross-border crime and the standard operating procedures for enforcing U.S. and Canadian laws respective of jurisdiction.
“We are very excited to continue this training in the Charleston area,” said Cmdr. Tom Walsh, commanding officer of MLEA. “It builds upon our strong partnership with RCMP and provides Coast Guardsmen and Canadian members with the professional, standardized training needed to conduct integrated 21st century law enforcement missions.”
To date, 236 students have received the Shiprider designation. Each Shiprider course averages 28 students per class.
Designed to strengthen security along the shared border, the Shiprider Program allows U.S. and Canadian maritime law enforcement officers to embark together on joint patrols to achieve integrated operations on and near shared maritime borders. By working together, both countries’ law enforcement crews are able to exercise operational flexibility to pursue and interdict vessels across the international border.
Successes from the program include working approximately 3900 patrol hours, 710 vessel boardings; seizures of 2,800 pounds of bulk fine cut tobacco, 103 pounds of marijuana, 1.2 million cigarettes and documenting more than 27 boating safety violations.
The pilot shiprider program started in 2005, which developed into full-time operations in 2013 following the signing of the U.S.-Canada Bi-lateral Framework Agreement in 2009 and the establishment of the Bi-national Standard Operating Procedures in 2013. First District Commander Coast Guard Rear Adm. Dan Abel and RCMP “J” Division commanding officer Roger L. Brown recently signed the Eastern Region International Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations agreement April 8, 2014.
Press Release, April 17, 2014; Image: USCG