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US Coast Guard cutter arrives in South Atlantic for rare deployment

For the first time in more than a decade, a US Coast Guard (USCG) cutter has been deployed to the South Atlantic, with the recently commissioned Legend-class USCG Stone (WMSL 758) reaching Uruguayan waters on 25 January, tasked to help US partners in the South Atlantic combat illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing.

This is the USCG’s first cutter deployment to the South Atlantic since 2010 when the Famous-class cutter Spencer (WMEC 95) visited Montevideo, a Coast Guard spokesperson told Janes.

USCG platforms have participated in the annual multinational exercise UNITAS in recent years – the cutter Legare (WMEC 912) participated in UNITAS LXI, which took place in Ecuador in November 2020. However, deployments for operations, not exercises, are rare.

As part of Operation Southern Cross, Stone will co-operate with maritime forces from Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Portugal, the USCG acknowledged.

Admiral Craig Faller, commander of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), whose area of responsibility includes the waters adjacent to South America in the South Atlantic, cited the importance of maintaining the US global alliance of partners during a speech at the virtual Surface Navy Association’s 33rd National Symposium on 14 January.

To achieve and secure American interests, Adm Faller said, the US needed to “continue to advance those alliances and partnerships ... here in this hemisphere. To do that, we have to be there in person [and] with our ships”.

The deployment of the new cutter is an example of US co-operation with partners in the South Atlantic to combat IUU fishing, a Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs spokesperson at the State Department told Janes.


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