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USCG and Pacific partners hold joint mass rescue training

USCG exercise participants
Source: USCG media release

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The U.S. Coast Guard and partners participated in the American Samoa Mass Rescue Operation Tabletop Exercise at the Pago Pago International Airport, in August.

A two-day discussion-based exercise was conducted to provide a low-risk environment to familiarize participants with roles and responsibilities during a mass rescue response and foster meaningful interaction, interoperability and communication across multi-national jurisdictions and organizations.

“Anytime we can leverage our partnership through unity of effort shows the importance and preparation required for the emerging threats of tomorrow,” said Cmdr. Daniel Han, commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu.

The U.S. Coast Guard worked closely with international partners to gain a better understanding of each other’s roles, their response capabilities, capacity and how their resources are activated and managed. Senior level operators participated in strategic discussions, using a diverse set of skills and knowledge to provide an increased international perspective and understanding of high-risk, low-probability events.

These joint training exercises help overcome obstacles such as the remote location, limited local response assets and other response resources of American Samoa and Samoa. Exercise scenarios included a cruise ship fire, a commercial aircraft ditching, and a passenger ferry adrift during a tropical cyclone.

The Agencies involved include:

- American Samoa Department of Homeland Security

- American Samoa Port Authority

- American Samoa Public Safety

- American Samoa Search and Rescue

- Samoa National Emergency Operations Center 

- Samoa Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet

- Maritime New Zealand / New Zealand Search and Rescue

- U.S. Coast Guard District 14 and Sector Honolulu