Cutter Walnut wraps up port call in Apia

The US Coast Guard has hailed the success of a three-day port call in Apia this week following the completion of joint patrols of Samoan waters and ahead of further exercises later this month.

The Coast Guard Cutter Walnut joined forces with shipriders from the Ministry of Police and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in a patrol to enforce maritime laws inside Samoa's Exclusive Economic Zone last week.

"We had an excellent port call here in Apia and opportunities to engage with the Government of Samoa [...] and the students of Lufilufi Primary School," said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Jasnoch, Commanding Officer of the Cutter Walnut.

In addition to their engagements with law enforcement, a community outreach programme and an official reception, the Coast Guard also held meetings with the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Center and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

"We were pleased to have so many honoured guests and our shipriders join us ahead of this patrol," said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Janosch.

The crew took on shipriders from Samoa's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to deter illegal fishing in the waters. 

The patrol effort was undertaken as Samoa upgrades its fleet, with the expected addition of a new maritime patrol vessel in October.

"We are pleased to provide this presence and work with our partners to support our allies and neighbors in the Pacific, essential to a free and open Indo-Pacific," said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Janosch.

Another vessel, the Cutter Joseph Gerczak, is currently in American Samoan waters but will arrive in Apia later this month. 

The Coast Guard is in Samoa is also the first step in a broader plan, known as Operation Aiga, to enhance American relationships in the Pacific.

The Coast Guard exercises 11 bilateral shiprider agreements with Pacific Island Forum nations with exercises focused on promotion regional security.

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