As one cutter departs, another deploys to maintain Coast Guard presence in Western Pacific

Petty Officer 1st Class Alex Major, an aviation survival technician aboard the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf, swims in the South China Sea during training on April 22, 2019. JOHN MASSON/U.S. NAVY
Petty Officer 1st Class Alex Major, an aviation survival technician aboard the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf, swims in the South China Sea during training on April 22, 2019. JOHN MASSON/U.S. NAVY

As one cutter departs, another deploys to maintain Coast Guard presence in Western Pacific

by Caitlin Doornbos
Stars and Stripes

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — As the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf concluded six months deployed in the Western Pacific, its sister ship, the cutter Stratton, left its homeport in California on Wednesday to take its place, according to the Coast Guard.

While operating in the Pacific, under the aegis of the 7th Fleet, the Bertholf sailed with a Navy guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait, the first Coast Guard cutter to do so. It also sailed through contentious waters of the East China Sea and exercised with ships of the Philippine coast guard near Scarborough Shoal, a ring of sand in the South China Sea claimed zealously by China.

Sending the Bertholf and the Stratton, both national security cutters, represents a law enforcement approach to a problem of international relations. The Coast Guard has operated in the Western Pacific previously, but not in such high-profile fashion.

“This is, for us, just a return to engagement in an area that we have been and conducted operations in before and consistent with international law,” said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.585949

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