US Navy, Coast Guard wrap up joint fisheries patrol in Oceania

The U.S. Coast Guard joined the navy for two months of fisheries and law enforcement patrols in the Central and South Pacific under the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative.

The mission was concluded on Wednesday, December 14.

A Coast Guard law enforcement detachment embarked USS Sampson (DDG 102) and conducted 8 fisheries enforcement boardings with the assistance of the Navy’s visit, board, search and seizure team and embarked air department from helicopter maritime strike squadron (HSM) 73.

During the deployment, Sampson became the first U.S. warship to visit New Zealand in 33 years. At the request of the New Zealand government, Sampson’s crew assisted the nation with relief efforts to the south island of Kaikoura, after a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck, Nov. 14.

“While viewing sobering images of widespread infrastructural damage in Kaikoura, I was also reminded and encouraged by the sight of my Sailors going ashore with an unwavering can-do spirit that assures me we are doing our part in supporting the New Zealand forces,” said Cmdr. Tim LaBenz, commanding officer of Sampson.

Sampson then participated in OMSI taskings in the Western Pacific with embarked U.S. Coast Guard personnel Nov. 27-Dec. 2.

The boarding teams inspected documentation and fish holds for illegal activity and verification of compliance with conservation and management measures.

Sampson culminated its assignment by participating in community service events in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Dec. 7 and conducting a ceremony at the island’s Guadalcanal memorial.

Sampson and Coast Guard personnel also paid their respects at the memorial of Coast Guard Signalman 1st Class Douglas P. Munro, the service’s sole Medal of Honor recipient.


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