On January 25, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires in Uruguay Jennifer Savage, together with Uruguayan Navy representatives, welcomed the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stone (USCGC Stone) in the Port of Montevideo — the first visit of this kind in more than a decade. The ship, under the command of Captain Adam B. Morrison, is part of the U.S. Coast Guard, under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard plays an important role worldwide in maritime security, search and rescue, and law enforcement. The USCGC Stone is sailing in the South Atlantic as part of a multi-month mission called Operation Southern Cross.
The Coast Guard’s Operation Southern Cross is part of the U.S. government’s efforts to create regional maritime security partnerships and prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the South Atlantic due to the economic and environmental damages that this activity causes. The overall objective of the United States is to ensure the sustainable management, conservation, and restoration of stocks of living marine resources. This is vital to maintaining a healthy and productive marine environment, promoting economic benefits and food security for fishers and consumers, and providing international leadership through broad adoption of the same high standards of conservation and management of marine fauna worldwide.
IUU fishing undermines sustainable environmental conservation and fishing resource management, causes commercial distortions that entail unfair advantages, and contributes to human rights abuses. Estimates say that this applies to one in five fish captured, with an annual cost of up to $23 billion worldwide. Fish populations and other living marine resources move freely and do not recognize national borders. Therefore, no country can manage these resources on their own effectively. Countries must cooperate to establish science-based fishing regulations to guarantee the conservation and management of fish populations and other living marine resources. Uruguay has shown its commitment to preventing IUU fishing by being the first — and so far, the only — South Atlantic country to ratify the international agreement on Port State Measures, which provides countries with important tools to prevent their ports from being used in support of IUU fishing.
“During this mission, the U.S. Coast Guard is committed to supporting our Atlantic partners in their efforts to ensure resource security and maritime sovereignty, both of which are essential to maintaining the rule of law and security in the oceans. This patrol is necessary to train the crew of the new Legend-class ship and, at the same time, seize the opportunity to strengthen relationships by working with our regional partners and allies,” Capt. Morrison said.
During this mission, the U.S. Coast Guard is committed to supporting our Atlantic partners in their efforts to ensure resource security and maritime sovereignty, both of which are essential to maintaining the rule of law and security in the oceans. This patrol is necessary to train the crew of the new Legend-class ship and, at the same time, seize the opportunity to strengthen relationships by working with our regional partners and allies,” Capt. Morrison.
“The strong friendship between the United States and Uruguay is not a coincidence. It is the result of more than a century of hard work, cooperation, and unwavering support. This kind of visit helps highlight the importance of this bond. I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate on issues of regional importance such as IUU fishing,” Savage said.
In addition to welcoming the USCGC Stone and wishing its crew a good stay on behalf of the Uruguayan Navy, the institution’s spokesman Pablo González noted that “it is an honor for the Navy that the Coast Guard [Cutter] Stone has on its agenda the arrival of this modern ship at the Port of Montevideo. This further strengthens our bonds of friendship and cooperation.”