News: Coast Guard, Navy partner in Oceania Maritime Security Initiative
HONOLULU – Cmdr. Mark Morin, 14th Coast Guard District incident management branch chief, stands watch with Lt. Karl Hjembo, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 1, aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 17 on deployment in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations, May 11, 2012.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and Carrier Strike Group became the first carrier strike group to participate in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative, May 7-16, during Vinson's transit.
Morin stressed the importance of the Navy's joining the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy forces in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing vessels when possible.
"The IUU vessels are the fishing vessels that don't purchase the necessary permits to fish in either the U.S. and/or foreign Exclusive Economic Zone's," Morin explained. "These IUU vessels are basically harvesting tuna resources from the U.S. without having to pay for permits. We need to locate and identify these IUU vessels and ensure they face the penalty for breaking the law."
OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program which leverages Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the U.S. Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania. The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for patrolling the waters around the numerous islands associated with the United States throughout the region. Each of these islands have territorial waters stretching out to 12 miles from shore. Beyond that, stretching out to 200 nautical miles is an exclusive economic zone, an area defined by international law that allows each nation exclusive rights to the exploration and use of marine resources. Oceania contains 43 percent, or approximately 1.3 million square miles, of United States' EEZs.
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