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USCG Lt. Whalen presented Resolution commending his service to AS

[SN file photo]

Rep. Su’a Alexander Eli Jennings presented US Coast Guard Lt. Kevin Patrick Whalen with a House Resolution, from the Fono and people of American Samoa, that commends him for his significant contribution to the safety and environmental well-being of American Samoa.

Also attending the presentation was Port Administration director Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Poumele along with other Port Administration employees, and local US Coast Guard personnel. The presentation happened before Whalen left the territory after his tour of duty as supervisor of the USCG Marine Safety Detachment unit in Pago Pago.

The resolution, sponsored by Su’a and House Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui Jr., says Whalen responded to numerous marine casualties in the port of American Samoa involving a tanker collision, injuries, environmental damage and a death.

Furthermore, Whalen, a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy with a degree in environmental science, oversaw correction actions for safety and environmental compliance on approximately 130 vessels improving safety of the vessel and its crews.

In tandem with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in response to the grounding of the fishing vessel No. 1 JI HYUN, Whalen engaged local marine surveyors and environmental agencies to conduct a damage survey and analysis of the grounded vessel. His actions vastly reduced the impact in the National Marine Sanctuary and led to the eventual recovery of the vessel from the reef.

According to the resolution, Whalen’s commitment to Marine Safety led to a successful collaboration of the first search and rescue assessment involving several state agencies, New Zealand and Coast Guard responders.

“This assessment led to identifying American Samoa’s response capabilities and shortfalls,” it states. “As a result, American Samoa is developing plans and networking with our Pacific islands for more capable response time and capability.”

The resolution went through the usual protocol of official approval in the House when the Fono convened for the 2nd Regular Session of the 35th Legislature.