US Coast Guard deploys USCG Stone in South Atlantic – As part of the South Cross operation, the United States Coast Guard has begun the deployment of its most modern cutter, the USCG Stone WMSL-758, a ship that departed on Tuesday 22 from the port of Pascagoula, Mississippi to South Atlantic waters.
US Coast Guard deploys USCG Stone in South Atlantic
MilitaryEzyInfo.com | During the months of navigation, the main mission of the modern vessel will be to control and prevent illegal, undeclared, and unregulated fishing. The presence of the aforementioned US vessel is in coincidence with the months during which the fishing grounds of the South Atlantic attract an immense fleet of fishing vessels.
In accordance with the USCG Atlantic Area, Stone will work in conjunction with partner nations, such as Portugal (it will have an onboard representative), Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina, not only to strengthen its relationship with the various FFSS and FFAA of the above-mentioned countries but also to provide presence and support to the national security objectives that the US maintains in the South Atlantic. It is worth remembering that THE USCG has a history of deployments through these latitudes, many of them within the framework of the UNITAS multinational exercises. However, operation “Southern Cross” is the first such deployment for the service and is undoubtedly directly related to the monitoring and criticism by the US government regarding the predatory and illegal practices of China-subsidized fisheries. Such statements were made in a timely manner by Secretary of State holder Mike Pompeo as a fleet of Chinese fisherman’s roamed the waters near the Galapagos Islands, a marine reserve under Ecuadorian sovereignty and custody.
At that time, the Ecuadorian Navy was forced to carry out a major deployment of aeronautical means in order to prevent the violation of its sovereignty as well as the damage caused by the presence of this important fleet of fishermen. A similar position maintained Peru and Chile, keeping the latter country almost constant control during the transit of the aforementioned fishing vessels during their navigation to and from the south Atlantic.
Operation Southern Cross is a joint deployment that is carried out with the coordination of the U.S. Southern Command, an agency responsible for managing the activity and collaboration with partner nations in the region. The framework of the operation is based on the guidelines set out in the “Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing Strategic Outlook” published last September by the USCG. The document reaffirms the commitment of this service in terms of global maritime security, regional stability, and economic prosperity. Regarding the deployment of USCG Stone, Vice Admiral Steven Poulin, commander of the USCG Atlantic Area, stated that “… illegal, undocumented and unregulated fishing is a threat to the health of fishing grounds, adversely impacting those who follow global regulations and national laws. It is a global issue and a great problem for any nation…”.
Having been delivered last November, the USCG Stone is the ninth ship (out of a total of 11) of the Legend-class called the National Security Cutter, which is designed to provide all the comforts and technological capabilities that currently demand the presence on the high seas. Built at Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi, the aforementioned cutter is named after Elmer Fowler Stone, a USCG aviator who became the first person to fly a plane across the Atlantic Ocean. With a 127-meter drive and a 4500-ton displacement, the Stone is capable of operating for 60 to 90 days, with a crew of 128 people. The modern ship accommodates various C4 systems, intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance, with the ability to operate an onboard helicopter (MH-65 Dolphin or HH-60J Jayhawk) and unmanned aerial systems. As for its weaponry, the main artillery consists of a 57mm Bofors Mk110 gun, a Phalanx CIWS point defense system as well as multiple mounts for 12.7mm and 7.62mm machine guns. It also has an electronic warfare system and chaff/flare SRBOC/NULKA countermeasures.
As we mentioned, the presence of the North American cutter is not coincidental, because the fishing fleet is already actively operating in South Atlantic waters, many of them Chinese flag. This presence has not gone unnoticed, having remained present with both the Argentine Navy and the Naval Prefecture, to the extent that its means have allowed it. Recently, the destroyer ARA “La Argentina” was deployed in the exclusive economic zone, carrying out surveillance and control tasks. As Gaceta Marinera reported, the ship’s singing lasted 15 days and involved the journey of more than 2500 nautical miles during which effective control was carried out of third-flag fishermen, “… mainly from China and Korea… (during the control) fishing permits, technical and commercial data were corroborated…”
Despite the efforts put in recent weeks, the Argentine Navy continues to operate with serious budgetary and material constraints, in the latter case highlighting the need for long-range maritime patrol aircraft. As we reported, Naval Aviation will not be able to count on this capability in the short term until the revitalization of the P-3B Orion found in FAdeA is completed or until one of the P-3C Orion offered by the United States can be incorporated.
US Coast Guard deploys USCG Stone in South Atlantic