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HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard and People's Republic of China Maritime Safety Administration successfully completed two days of search and rescue exercises in Hawaii Sept. 6.
The exercise began Sept. 5 with a table top discussion in Honolulu, which began a dialog between the two agencies which share a common mission of protecting life at sea. The exercise culminated eight miles south of Oahu where the crews of the Haixun 31, the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island and helicopter aircrews from the Haixun 31 and Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point coordinated a simulated rescue.
At approximately 6 a.m. a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew dropped a rescue dummy to simulate a person in the water. At 12 p.m. a helicopter crew from the Haixun 31 conducted search patterns, and after locating the rescue dummy, deployed a flare to mark its location. A small boat from the Haixun 31 was launched and recovered the dummy. Coast Guard aircrews then hoisted the rescue dummy from the deck of the Haixun 31 to simulate a medevac.
The exercise served as a building block toward a cooperative partnership and facilitated discussions of maritime search and rescue and environmental protection measures that are of mutual interest to both agencies.
"This historic engagement further improves the coordination of search and rescue operations at sea," said Rear Adm. Charles Ray, commander 14th Coast Guard District. "This is the first visit to the United States by the Haixun 31 and is an opportunity to strengthen our relationship on a number of common maritime missions."
Ray hosted a welcoming ceremony during the arrival of Haixun's crew Tuesday. The ceremony was attended by Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle. The Chinese delegation included Chinese Vice Consul General Sun Dewei from Los Angeles, Chinese Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration Director General Liang Jianwei, Chinese Guangdong Deputy Director General Cao Desheng and Capt. Chen Qingli, commanding officer of Haixun 31. Haixun 31 will remain in port until Saturday.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration have collaborated several times since 1987 on many maritime issues. This visit represents a continuing opportunity to collaborate on search and rescue to improve competencies and cooperation.