Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley returns to Kodiak

A crew member aboard a 26-foot boat prepares to come alongside Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley while underway in the Bering Sea. (Oct. 20, 2019) Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard District 17
A crew member aboard a 26-foot boat prepares to come alongside Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley while underway in the Bering Sea. (Oct. 20, 2019) Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard District 17

The Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley has returned to homeport at Kodiak after nearly three months at sea. The mission included an interaction during a Russian Navy incident while patrolling an area of more than 11,000 miles.

The deployment throughout the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea involved safeguarding the fishing industry plus enabling search and rescue operations in an area spanning 890,000 square miles, Coast Guard officials said.

During the patrol, the Alex Haley crew conducted 20 boardings in partnership with six different fisheries.

The Alex Haley crew patrolled the Maritime Boundary Line and also joined the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Vessel Kashima for a high-latitude exercise in early September, in a show of international cooperation and goodwill.

When Russian naval vessels and aircraft participating in Russian military exercise Ocean Shield without authority directed American fishing vessels wo were legally fishing within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone to leave the area, the Alex Haley responded to the area to provide a U.S. military presence, gather information on the incident, and educate the fishing fleet on U.S. sovereign rights. Crew from the Alex Haley boarded four of five fishing vessels known to have interacted with the Russian Navy to collect information critical to developing an appropriate diplomatic response to the Russians’ military interaction with the fishing fleet.

Capt. Benjamin Golightly, commanding officer of the Alex Haley, said that despite the extraordinary challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic that the Alex Haley crew displayed remarkable perseverance throughout the patrol.