Joint maritime exercises
The Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard are scheduled to commence the first of a series of joint exercises as part of the operationalisation of the Shiprider Agreement ratified by the two countries in 2020.
This exercise will take place off the coast of Guyana and will focus mainly on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
US Coast Guard Cutter Stone
It will be conducted in collaboration with the US Coast Guard Cutter Stone, which is currently in the Region for a multi-country tour.
A previous statement from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) said the warship, which is called the USCGC Stone (WMSL 758), departed from Pascagoula, Mississippi in the US just ahead of Christmas.
USCGC Stone is a Legend-class cutter, considered one of the most technologically-advanced ships in the US Coast Guard’s fleet with a range of 12,000 nautical miles. They usually measure 127 metres, with a 54-foot beam (width at the widest point of the ship) and can reach a top speed of over 28 knots.
The ship will be on a multi-month deployment to the South Atlantic Ocean and will be tasked with countering illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, while also strengthening relationships for maritime sovereignty and security throughout the Region.
This is the service’s “first patrol to South America in recent memory, and is being undertaken with support from Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Portugal. The cutter has embarked a ship rider from the Portuguese Navy under a non-binding international agreement”.
GDF Coast Guard vessel
According to the statement, Operation Southern Cross is being conducted in conjunction with US Southern Command. It is charged with managing operations in Central and South America by collaborating to ensure the security of the Western Hemisphere.
In September, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Guyana and signed a maritime patrol pact with officials in Guyana to guard against narcotics and other regional security threats.
President Dr Irfaan Ali had explained that the maritime pact would see joint patrols to interdict narcotics trafficking.
The President had also noted that it would allow for the improvement of technical and human capabilities in monitoring Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). That move, he had noted, would augur well for stronger collaboration and broader technical assistance to help combat both domestic and transnational organised criminal networks.
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