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Partners conduct multilateral search and rescue drill off Palau

Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir/U.S. Coast Guard

To strengthen relationships and interoperability, the United States Coast Guard conducted a multilateral search and rescue exercise with longtime partners from Japan, the Republic of Palau and the United Kingdom in late July 2022.

“We thrive on these opportunities, and we all came away with a deepened appreciation for the work of our respective agencies,” said Lt. Cmdr. Field Cassiano, the U.S. Coast Guard’s liaison to Palau and other Pacific Island nations. “Anyone who spends time in the Pacific is no stranger to the region’s vast distances and limited resources. Evolutions like this provide invaluable face-to-face interaction and enable us to work through challenges before an incident or crisis.”

Missions range from searching for a missing plane or small fishing vessel to rescuing passengers and crew from a disabled cruise ship or commercial vessel.

In the July 2022 drill near Palau, the crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard, with support from the U.S. Coast Guard Fourteenth District and U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, worked with the crews of Palau Patrol Ship PPS Kedam, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Kirisame and the U.K. Royal Navy vessel HMS Tamar. (Pictured: Sailors from HMS Tamar and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard participate in a search and rescue exercise.)

“Thoughtful planning led to realistic scenarios that were positively challenging, which demanded teamwork, shared vision and high-level navigational expertise,” said Lt. Jalle Merritt, Myrtle Hazard’s commanding officer.

With decades of experience, the U.S. Coast Guard in the Pacific works with allies and partners to provide life-saving coverage in one of the world’s largest maritime rescue regions. Its formal agreements that comply with international law and regulations include search and rescue pacts with Australia, Japan and Palau, among other Indo-Pacific nations.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Palau hold regular search and rescue engagements to improve cooperation and processes. The July 2022 drill, a facet of Pacific Partnership 22, comes on the heels of a successful humanitarian assistance and disaster relief workshop at which 120 personnel received training.

Charles Maynard of the U.K. Royal Navy oversaw the drill as Pacific Partnership’s deputy mission commander.

The coordination among partner nations during Pacific Partnership 22 enhanced understanding and cooperation and prepared participants to respond to natural disasters and other humanitarian assistance scenarios. The annual Pacific Partnership missions contribute to regional stability and security by fostering friendships, trust and interoperability.

Now in its 17th iteration, Pacific Partnership is the most extensive multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission in the Indo-Pacific.


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