US and Japan Coast Guard units conduct joint counter-narcotics exercise in Pacific
The US Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard completed a joint counter-narcotics exercise off Guam, Tuesday.
The exercise was the first operational exchange between US Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and the Japan Coast Guard and was designed to promote cooperation between the partners in areas of mutual interest, including maritime security and counter-smuggling operations.
“What an incredible opportunity to conduct joint training with the Japan Coast Guard and be able to share law enforcement capabilities which will enhance future joint mission planning,” said Capt. Nicholas Simmons, commander of Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. “These exercises further solidify our great maritime relationship and will prove to be invaluable during future missions.”
The exercise was conducted between the crews of the Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel Mizuho, US Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry, and US Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam.
On Monday, the participants met for tours of the participating vessels and tabletop discussions to plan the at-sea exercise the next day.
“Conducting exercises based off of real-world scenarios will boost opportunities to respond more effectively,” said Lt. Jack Hamel, the commanding officer of the Oliver Henry.
On Tuesday, the crews deployed for the at-sea exercise consisting of two counter-narcotics drills where the crews simulated locating and boarding a target of interest fishing vessel suspected of drug smuggling.
The drills focused on methods of information sharing, vessel tracking, stopping measures, and inspection procedures for greater interoperability between the partners in the future. The two crews also conducted a personnel exchange and rendered passing honors between the vessels.
The exercise was a part of the Japan Coast Guard and US Coast Guard Operation SAPPHIRE 2022, which stands for Solid Alliance for Peace and Prosperity with Humanity and Integrity on the Rule-of-Law Based Engagement 2022, and was the second such operation held between the US Coast Guard and the Japan Coast Guard, the first being held in San Francisco in May.