Posted on February 20, 2023
The Coast Guard Cutter Stone (WMSL 758) arrived in the Port of Montevideo, Uruguay for a scheduled visit Sunday.
Stone is conducting a multi-mission deployment in the South Atlantic Ocean, exercising the U.S. Coast Guard’s partnership with the host nation to counter illicit maritime activity and promote maritime law enforcement throughout the region. Stone’s deployment focuses on developing partnerships and increasing U.S. interoperability with South American nations to counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
“Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing has replaced piracy as the leading global maritime security threat,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Clinton Carlson, Stone’s commanding officer. “The United States stands with Uruguay in our shared commitment to countering this threat and we are working hand-in-hand to uphold our mutual security interests in the region.”
Uruguay and the United States are party to the Port State Measures Agreement, the first binding international agreement that targets IUU fishing. The agreement brings together best practices to strengthen enforcement measures for signatories to apply when foreign fishing and fishing support vessels seek entry into their ports to prevent IUU-caught fish and fish products from being landed or transshipped, eliminating the economic incentives that drive IUU fishing.
Both nations also participate in the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which coordinates the conservation and management of highly migratory fish species throughout the Atlantic Ocean, including through shared science and joint monitoring. Stone’s visit is intended to build a mutual understanding and rapport among the nations’ maritime forces to advance our shared efforts to strengthen the Commission’s tools against IUU fishing.
“U.S. maritime law enforcement presence in South American waters is not unusual,” said Carlson. “Many of the illicit actors operating in this region come from all over the world to fish in other nations’ exclusive economic zones. Partnering with these nations’ maritime forces allows us to identify those who are violating our partners’ maritime sovereignty, fishing migratory species to near extinction, and impacting the economic livelihoods of coastal communities that rely on sustainable fish stocks.”
Stone last visited Uruguay in January of 2021 on a similar mission to address port security and threats posed by IUU fishing, and to help facilitate safe and lawful maritime commerce and travel.
Stone’s second visit to Montevideo in as many years comes at an opportune time, as the United States and Uruguay mark the 70th anniversary of the 1953 Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement between the nations. The accord served as the foundation of the long history of cooperation between the two democracies in defense equipment, training, and peacekeeping operations around the world that continues to thrive today.
Stone is the ninth Legend-class national security cutter in the Coast Guard fleet and currently homeports in Charleston, South Carolina. The national security cutters can execute the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders.
Stone is under the command of U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. Based in Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area oversees all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf. In addition to surge operations, they also allocate ships to work with partner commands and deploy to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific to combat transnational organized crime and illicit maritime activity.