Kodiak-based cutter crew returns home after 100 days

PACIFIC OCEAN - A Coast Guard Cutter Munro boarding team prepares to inspect a fishing vessel for illegal catch in the Pacific Ocean during a routine boarding Aug. 2, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Cutter Munro.

PACIFIC OCEAN - A Coast Guard Cutter Munro boarding team prepares to inspect a fishing vessel for illegal catch in the Pacific Ocean during a routine boarding Aug. 2, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Cutter Munro.

By Ensign Stefan Lewis

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Munro returned home to Kodiak, Alaska, Nov. 1 after completing a 100-day North Pacific Patrol.

Family and friends greeted the Munro crew at the pier wearing Halloween costumes continuing the previous evening’s festivities.

While avoiding multiple typhoons during the height of the season in the North Pacific, the crew diligently patrolled high threat areas in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention area for high seas drift net fishing. They also enforced the United Nations general assembly resolution banning the use of large scale pelagic drift net fishing in the world’s oceans and seas.

During the patrol the Munro crew crossed paths with the 146-foot fishing vessel Bangun Perkasa. The crew of the vessel was conducting illegal high seas drift net fishing in the North Pacific. This is the practice of targeting valuable species such as salmon, Albacore tuna and squid using nets up to 24 miles in length. The catch they make is unregulated and unreported which endangers massive amounts of highly migratory fish stocks, protected sea birds and marine mammals which affect the whole North Pacific ecosystem.

The Munro crew escorted the vessel for 13 days to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, before transferring custody of the vessel, the 22 crewmembers aboard and the case package to the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett. The Munro crew then resumed their North Pacific patrol.

A cutter Munro boarding team found a dog aboard the Bangun Perkasa. The dog lived aboard the Munro until the cutter crew returned to Kodiak. The dog, Lai Wong, was then adopted by a member of the forward deployed aviation detachment from Air Station San Francisco. He is now living in San Francisco with his new owner and reportedly doing well.

During the extensive patrol, the Munro crew was able to enjoy four mid-patrol port calls, exploring the various sights of Yokosuka, Japan. Mount Fuji, Tokyo Disney and the Imperial Palace were among the crew’s favorite sights to visit.

More than two-thirds of the crew earned the nautical title of Golden Dragon during a traditional naval line crossing ceremony on the International Dateline.

The Coast Guard Cutter Munro is a multi-mission, 378-foot high endurance cutter responsible for conducting search and rescue, law enforcement and homeland security missions throughout the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean.

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