The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Kimball returned to its homeport of Honolulu on Oct. 28 after participating in search and rescue activities and did patrols in fisheries enforcement in the Bering and Chukchi Seas and netted the vessel’s first Coast Guard Arctic Service Medal.
The medal is awarded to any member of the United States Coast Guard who performs 21 days of non-consecutive duty afloat or ashore north of the Arctic Circle.
While traveling more than 100 days and 22,000 miles, the crew came across Russian and Chinese naval vessels in the Bering Sea.
“The formation, which was transiting through the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, did not enter U.S. territorial waters,” according to USCG. “The Kimball came within about a mile of the naval ships, established and maintained radio contact, and ultimately ensured their presence was in accordance with international rules and norms.”
The 418-foot-long national security cutter also provided enforcements on both sides of the U.S. – Russia Maritime Boundary Line and inspected U.S. commercial fishing vessels.
“As Arctic sea ice melts, Coast Guard presence in the region is vital to ensuring the safety of increased maritime traffic, protecting critical resources such as fish stocks, and upholding U.S. sovereign interests and international law,” Capt. Thomas D’Arcy, Kimball’s commanding officer, said.