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Press Release | April 12, 2024

U.S. Coast Guard and Government of Samoa put enhanced maritime agreement to the test in tabletop exercise

HONOLULU – The U.S. Coast Guard and Government of Samoa bolstered their maritime security cooperation on April 5, 2024, by the signing of an enhanced maritime law enforcement addendum and conducted a subsequent tabletop exercise.

This agreement strengthens regional security and promotes maritime safety and security in the Pacific by empowering the Coast Guard to conduct enforcement actions within Samoa's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under specific circumstances. The recently signed addendum complements existing collaboration with Samoan law enforcement by enabling Samoa to request the Coast Guard to inspect vessels and enforce their coastal regulations without a Samoan officer onboard. 

"This agreement demonstrates the trust between Samoa and the U.S. in the Pacific.” said Capt. Jennifer Conklin, Operation Blue Pacific lead at Coast Guard District Fourteen in Honolulu. “It allows us to continue our collaborative efforts and be more responsive to emerging threats by working seamlessly with our partners to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment in the region.” 

Following the signing ceremony, a two-day tabletop exercise provided a platform for Coast Guard and Samoan law enforcement personnel to practice utilizing the new agreement. This simulated environment allowed participants to discuss hypothetical scenarios that could arise in the field, such as encountering a suspicious vessel in Samoa's EEZ. Through these discussions, participants practiced communication protocols and the exchange of vital information using standardized forms, ensuring a smooth and coordinated response during real-world operations.  

“The successful completion of the tabletop exercise demonstrates the commitment of the United States and Samoa to ensuring the safety and security of maritime activities in the region. The ongoing collaboration between the US Coast Guard and Samoa Maritime officers serves as a model for regional maritime security cooperation and highlights the importance of partnerships in addressing transnational maritime threats,” said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Noriko Horiuchi. 

This collaboration exemplifies the Coast Guard's ongoing commitment to working with Pacific Islands through Operation Blue Pacific, a collective effort to promote maritime safety, security, and stewardship in the region.