The Famous-class medium endurance U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk made port calls in Banjul, The Gambia, July 25, 2022, and Freetown, Sierra Leone, on July 30.
The visit to The Gambia included engagement opportunities with Gambian military, government and community leaders, including ship tours and professional knowledge exchanges on maritime security and law enforcement.
“Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing is a pervasive global maritime security threat,” said Cmdr. Andrew Pate, commanding officer aboard USCGC Mohawk. “International enforcement operations like the ones just completed with the Gambian Navy, the Senegalese Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard are part of a global effort to combat illegal exploitation of the oceans fish stocks.”
This visit marked the first port visit by a U.S. ship in over two decades to demonstrate the strengthening security cooperation relationship between the U.S. and The Gambia.
“The Gambia’s coastline is important to the nation’s economy and its people. As such, it must be protected from the threat of illegal fishing," said Sharon Cromer, U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia. "The visit of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk underscores that our partnership with The Gambia is wide-ranging and our mutual cooperation encompasses both land and sea."
During the Sierra Leone call, Mohawk's crew hosted ship tours for Sierra Leonean government and military leaders as well as participated in local discussions about the impact of IUU fishing with Tombo fishing community members, to include a film screening by award-winning Sierra Leonean documentarian Lansana Mansaray.
“My crew and I are excited to be in Freetown,” said Cmdr. Andrew Pate, commanding officer of Mohawk. “One of our primary objectives during this deployment is to enhance partner nations’ capacity to operate effectively in the maritime domain and promote targeted, effective, intelligence-driven enforcement operations.”
The United States and Sierra Leone have a proud history of working together to promote peace, stability, and security in Africa. Following this port visit, Mohawk will embed a liaison officer in Sierra Leone’s Joint Maritime Committee’s Joint Operations Center to support coordination for follow-on at sea operations.
“The U.S. Mission in Sierra Leone is proud to welcome the USCGC Mohawk,” said Lt. Col. Hans Hoffman, U.S. Defense Attaché to U.S Embassy Freetown. “Maritime security is a priority issue for both of our countries. This partnership allows the United States to support the Sierra Leone Maritime Wing in their vital operations patrolling Sierra Leone’s sovereign waters.”
The Gambia is an important partner of the United States in promoting peace and stability in the Southern Atlantic. In March, The Gambia participated in exercise Obangame Express 2022, the largest annual maritime security exercise in Western Africa. These types of exercises strengthen partnerships and allow countries to work more closely on shared transnational maritime challenges.
In March, Sierra Leone participated in exercise Obangame Express 2022, the largest annual maritime security exercise in Western Africa. These types of exercises strengthen partnerships and allow countries to work more closely on shared transnational maritime challenges.
Mohawk is the 13th and last of the Famous-class cutters. It is named for the Algonquin tribe of Iroquoian Indians who lived in the Mohawk Valley of New York. Mohawk is the third cutter to bear the name. Mohawk’s parent command is U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, and is currently forward-deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of operations.
U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, oversees all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf, spanning across five Coast Guard districts and 40 states.