ALAMEDA, Calif. — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Rush participated in a North American Maritime Security Initiative (NAMSI) exercise off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico, Oct. 8-11, 2013.The NAMSI Pacific Exercise is designed to establish a learning environment for players to exercise emergency response plans, policies, and procedures as they pertain to maritime homeland security/maritime homeland defense (MHS/MHD) events. The NAMSI is a component of a multi-year training and exercise plan that gives participants the opportunity to test their skills in interactive and hands-on, real world tactical procedures. A primary objective of the exercise was to evaluate the hand-off process of suspected vessels and persons of interest in collaboration with foreign navies. “NAMSI was an excellent opportunity to exercise and strengthen our partnership with our North American neighbors,” said Capt. Diane Durham, commanding officer of the Rush. “My crew walked away with a better understanding of this vital international agreement, and honed their homeland security skills with the assistance of the Mexican and Canadian maritime forces.” The Coast Guard is a leading agency of maritime enforcement worldwide. The NAMSI exercise involved the Canadian Navy, Mexican Navy, U.S. Navy, and additional Coast Guard assets including a Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from Air Station Sacramento and Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Newport Beach, Calif. “In any law enforcement operation, communication plays a vital role in the success of any evolution,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Laragione, one of the Maritime Enforcement Specialists aboard Rush. He did not overlook the opportunity to gain another perspective from the Mexican Navy. “Everyone involved brings something to the table, no matter how big or small your role is.” The multi-agency collaboration allowed an opportunity to test and improve capabilities to quickly interdict threats far from U.S. shores. Exercise participants will attend a facilitated debriefing at SEMAR Second Naval Region Headquarters in Ensenada. During the debriefing, participants will receive feedback regarding performance and potential areas for improvement. “It was a great opportunity to work with the Mexican Navy to strengthen our partnerships and to hopefully one day work on multilateral agreements to help combat the narcotics trafficking," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyson Ligsay, also a Maritime Enforcement Specialist aboard Rush. “We look forward to participating in future NAMSI exercises,” said Durham. Participating agencies included: Coast Guard Cutter Rush, Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal, Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, Coast Guard District 11, Coast Guard Pacific Area, SEMAR Region 2, ARM Montestario, HMCS Yellowknife, and HMCS Edmonton.
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