POHNPEI, Federated States of Micronesia — The crew of the Sentinel-class fast-reacting coastguard Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) made a port visit to Kolonia from September 14-16, following a patrol across Oceania encompassing the Coral Sea and the exclusive economic zones of Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia.
This stopover marks the sixth stopover in the conduct of operations in the Indo-Pacific theater, after several stops in Papua New Guinea and one in Australia, as part of Operation Blue Pacific.
During their stopover in Pohnpei, Oliver Henry’s crew welcomed Chargé d’Affaires Alissa Bibb and her team as well as Deputy Director Youky Susaia Jr. of the FSM National Oceanic Resource Management Authority – Fisheries Compliance Division. Thye covered highlights from the patrol and discussed future opportunities. Susaia Jr. is also a 2020 graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy and classmate of Chief Executive Oliver Henry.
Commander Oliver Henry visited FSM National Police Marine Wing Headquarters for an office call with Cmdr. Steward Peter to discuss multilateral efforts. Finally, members of the cutter’s engineering team conducted a subject matter expert exchange with the crew of FSS Palikir, the last active Guardian-class patrol craft, on shipboard repairs and preventative maintenance.
“We appreciate the time and support of our partners in the Federated States of Micronesia and look forward to continuing our shared commitment to lively marine stewardship and maritime security,” said Oliver Henry Commanding Officer Lt. Freddy Hofschneider. “As a proud Micronesian, it was an honor and a privilege to revisit Pohnpei, especially knowing that the crew truly enjoyed their time on the island to immerse themselves in the deeply rooted culture and experience such a beautiful place. ”
The U.S. Coast Guard maintains strong partnerships with maritime forces in the region through extensive training and subject matter expert exchanges. FSM, also known as the Big Ocean State, has one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world, with waters rich in marine life. FSM consists of four states – Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae – each has a mix of unique peoples, languages and cultures and a total of over 600 islands. FSM is a signatory of a Compact of Free Association with the United States. They are also a member of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Association and a party to the South Pacific Tuna Treaty.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter fleet was last in FSM in May, when USCGC Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) conducted a non-contact crew rest and resupply stop during her expeditionary patrol across the ‘Oceania. In December 2021, USCGC Sequoia (WLB 215), working alongside the Navy’s Underwater Construction Team Two (UCT-2), conducted operations to widen the narrowing channel of Kapingamarangi Atoll in due to marine proliferation. U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam also provide search and rescue support to FSMs.
The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment to Oceania as part of Operation Blue Pacific, working alongside Allies, building maritime domain awareness and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards. Op Blue Pacific seeks to strengthen partnerships and execute a mission in support of maritime governance and the rule of law in the region. To do this, we must understand, measure and articulate regional influences and relationships and provide our crews with the best operational means and support to safely complete the mission and return.
The 154-foot Oliver Henry is the 40th Sentinel-class fast-response cutter. The vessel was commissioned with her sister ships, Myrtle Hazard and Frederick Hatch, in Guam in July 2021. Since then, the crew has been involved in several search and rescue cases, conducted counter-narcotics patrol off Guam with the Japanese Coast Guard patrol. vessel Mizuho, and conducted sovereignty and fisheries patrols in the Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam area of responsibility.