U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii


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USCGC Kukui conducts change of command ceremony


Story by Lt. Scott Carr

HONOLULU – Lt. Cmdr. Brendan Harris, a native of Somers, Connecticut, relieved Cmdr. Steven Ramassini, a native of Pittsburgh, of command of USCGC Kukui (WLB-203) during a ceremony held at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, June 12.

Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District, was the presiding official.

Kukui, is a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Honolulu. In addition to servicing aids to navigation throughout the Hawaiian Islands and Western Pacific Ocean, other duties performed by the cutter’s crew include search and rescue, law enforcement, marine environmental protection, and Homeland Security missions.

During Ramassini’s three-year tenure, Kukui was the primary unit responsible for 197 aids to navigation in 10 waterways throughout the main Hawaiian Islands. Additionally, Kukui had 14 successful deployments, including two extended out-of-hemisphere patrols to conduct law enforcement throughout the Pacific. In 2012, Kukui enacted bi-lateral agreements between the U.S. and the countries of Tonga and Samoa to protect fishery resources. Kukui made history as the first U.S. asset to exercise this new agreement with Samoa. In the fall of 2014, Kukui partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the U.S. Geological Survey, the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Hawaii Wildlife Center to remove 5,000 pounds of debris from Kure Atoll and translocate 28 critically endangered Laysan ducks from Midway Atoll to Kure Atoll. Recently Kukui returned from a 43-day deployment, partnering with the country of Kiribati and identifying a total of 13 violations of federal laws and regulations including a voyage termination for an especially hazardous condition.

Ramassini will continue his Coast Guard career working as the chief of the Mission Support Branch within the Coast Guard Force Readiness Command’s Training Division. Harris comes to Kukui from the Security and Cooperation division of U.S. Pacific Command, having prior experience as the executive officer of Kukui from 2011-2013.

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