GUAM-Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Assateague, a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in Apra Harbor, Guam, completed a cleanup of eight beaches on the remote island of Tinian Thursday.
The crew managed to walk, wade and swim around the sharp-edged reefs that separate each beach, successfully collecting over 850 cubic feet of marine debris, equivalent to the waste generated by an average U.S. household in a two-week span according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The multi-beach cleanup was undertaken to remove marine debris that affects endangered sea turtles nesting in the area. Sea turtles are at risk from accidental ingestion or deadly entanglement. The amount of garbage littering the beaches also complicates the turtles’ ability to lay eggs.
The majority of the trash collected was plastic and glass washed ashore by the driving currents. Several kayaks were used to create makeshift catamarans, allowing the crew to more easily transport trash.
Acting Mayor Antonio SN. Borja and other dignitaries were present at Unai Donkulu Beach and extended warm welcome and appreciation to the crew. “On behalf of the people of Tinian, I would like to say thank you and Si Yu’us Ma’ase to our friends from the Coast Guard Cutter Assateague who traveled from Guam to spearhead the community service event. We are truly grateful for their help and we welcome them back to our beautiful island anytime soon,” said Borja.
Lt. Jared Silverman, commanding officer of Assateague, shared his enthusiasm for the event and the outstanding cooperation between the parties involved. “This was an outstanding opportunity for the crew to experience Tinian’s history, culture and community while making positive strides to help maintain its beautiful beaches and waters. The support we received from local organizations and the public was invigorating, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the great people of Tinian.”
The Assateague and Naval Base Guam Public Works Department Environmental Division coordinated the event in conjunction with Tinian Mayor’s Office, Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Lands and Natural Resources. The joint effort was also made possible with the assistance of Tinian Municipal Council, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Department of Public Safety, Marianas Visitors Authority and the Tinian Public School System.
Tinian is a member of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and is located 100 miles north of Guam. The island is home to approximately 3,100 residents.
Assateague is a 110-foot Island-Class patrol boat. Its assigned missions include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, ports waterways and coastal security and national defense. The Assateague has an area of responsibility equivalent to the size of the continental United States.