Coast Guard educates foreign partners

Story by: PA3 Jennifer Nease.

HOUSTON - An Uruguay Coast Guardsman rides along with a U.S. Coast Guard Station Houston boat crew en route to board the Coast Guard Cutter Manta for a tour of the Houston Ship Channel April 21, 2016. Three Uruguay Naval officers and two Uruguay Coast Guard officers spent a day learning about Sector Houston-Galveston’s area of responsibility and discussed a more practical approach to disaster response in the maritime industry. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jennifer Nease.

HOUSTON – An Uruguay Coast Guardsman rides along with a U.S. Coast Guard Station Houston boat crew en route to board the Coast Guard Cutter Manta for a tour of the Houston Ship Channel April 21, 2016. Three Uruguay Naval officers and two Uruguay Coast Guard officers spent a day learning about Sector Houston-Galveston’s area of responsibility and discussed a more practical approach to disaster response in the maritime industry. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jennifer Nease.

A delegation of Uruguayan Navy and Coast Guard officers traveled over 15 hours to meet with the 8th U.S. Coast Guard District and Sector Houston-Galveston to discuss and observe disaster response tactics in the maritime industry.

Three Uruguayan Navy representatives and two Uruguayan Coast Guardsmen, including a U.S. Naval Office of Defense representative, spent a day learning about Sector Houston-Galveston’s area of responsibility by touring the Houston Vessel Traffic Service operating center and the command center. The group took a tour along the Houston Ship Channel aboard Coast Guard Cutter Manta to learn about search and rescue operations, vessel traffic services, and use the automatic identification system to track vessels entering ports.

The 8th Coast Guard District covers 26 states throughout the Heartland of America and along the Gulf Coast. It is also home to two of the nation’s busiest ports — New Orleans and Houston. These ports are essential to the American infrastructure and economy as they are major players in the energy production and shipping industry. The Gulf is dotted with oil and gas producing wells, which create a dynamic environment for the Coast Guard’s marine inspectors.

HOUSTON - Uruguay Navy and Uruguay Coast Guardsmen ride along with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Manta for a tour of the Houston Ship Channel April 21, 2016. Three Uruguay Naval officers, two Uruguay Coast Guard officers and a representative of the Office of Security Cooperation in Montevideo spent a day learning about Sector Houston-Galveston’s area of responsibility and discussed a more practical approach to disaster response in the maritime industry. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jennifer Nease.

HOUSTON – Uruguay Navy and Uruguay Coast Guardsmen ride along with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Manta for a tour of the Houston Ship Channel April 21, 2016. Three Uruguay Naval officers, two Uruguay Coast Guard officers and a representative of the Office of Security Cooperation in Montevideo spent a day learning about Sector Houston-Galveston’s area of responsibility and discussed a more practical approach to disaster response in the maritime industry. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jennifer Nease.

“Exploratory drilling off the coast of Uruguay is happening, as of just one month ago, March 9, 2016,” said Cmdr. Daniel Di Bono, a Uruguayan naval officer. “We [came] here in order to gain knowledge in how the U.S. Coast Guard manages their major ports so that we can also keep our local Uruguay waters safe. We want to work to enhance our prevention, mitigation, preparation and emergency management, along with training.”

One duty of the U.S. Coast Guard inspectors is to ensure foreign-flagged vessels operating in U.S. waters are compliant with applicable international conventions, U.S. laws, and U.S. regulations. In 2014, Texas-based Coast Guard examiners conducted 25,393 container inspections, 3,643 facility safety and marine pollution related inspections, and 1,366 cargo transfer monitors to ensure safety and environmental stewardship of the maritime domain.

The members of the Uruguayan delegation said that observing how Houston handles similar operations on a much larger scale provides guidance as they approach new offshore operations off the coast of Uruguay.

HOUSTON - Uruguay Navy and Uruguay Coast Guardsmen ride along with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Manta for a tour of the Houston Ship Channel April 21, 2016. Three Uruguay Naval officers, two Uruguay Coast Guard officers and a representative of the Office of Security Cooperation in Montevideo spent a day learning about Sector Houston-Galveston’s area of responsibility and discussed a more practical approach to disaster response in the maritime industry. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jennifer Nease.

HOUSTON – Uruguay Navy and Uruguay Coast Guardsmen ride along with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Manta for a tour of the Houston Ship Channel April 21, 2016. Three Uruguay Naval officers, two Uruguay Coast Guard officers and a representative of the Office of Security Cooperation in Montevideo spent a day learning about Sector Houston-Galveston’s area of responsibility and discussed a more practical approach to disaster response in the maritime industry. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jennifer Nease.

“It is important for us to learn from you, because you have the experience,” said Capt. Juan Pedro Retamoso, Uruguay Navy Joint Defense Staff.