EASTPORT, Maine — Coast Guard Station Eastport and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Maritime Unit in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, are working together to enforce each country’s laws and regulations governing the coast.
The first such patrols in the 1st Coast Guard District, which includes Eastport, occurred on Aug. 26 and 27 along the St. Croix River.
The patrol is part of the newly approved Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operation, which aims to strengthen maritime security in shared U.S. and Canadian waterways by allowing law enforcement officers to freely cross the border and jointly enforce laws and regulations.
“The Canadians bring law enforcement techniques and skills to the table to help us overcome cross-border challenges,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeffrey R. Dowell, a ship rider and boarding team officer from Station Eastport, in a prepared statement. “We are using the training we received in South Carolina, and showcasing each other’s strengths.”
Officers from both countries will be aboard Integrated Cross-border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations vessels, but all law enforcement activities in Canadian waters will be led and directed by a Canadian law enforcement officer and all law enforcement activities in U.S. waters will be led and directed by a U.S. law enforcement officer.
“Working with the U.S. Coast Guard puts us at a great advantage for fresh pursuit of vessels crossing into the U.S. or back into Canada,” said Sebastian Ruel, a royal mounted police officer participating in the exercises. “The learning curve for the maritime operations is steep, but we are all learning quickly.”
Since 2005, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have evaluated several joint maritime law enforcement pilots to assess the workability and effectiveness of the U.S.-Canada Shiprider Framework Agreement and to strengthen cooperation among multiple law enforcement agencies.
The agreement was signed aboard an ICMLEO vessel in 2009 by the U.S. secretary of homeland security and Canada’s minister of public safety.
In June 2012, the Canadian Parliament passed legislation allowing Canada to participate in the joint operations. In June 2013, the final two policy agreements were signed enabling ICMLEO operations.
“We hope this is an ongoing evolution between us and the RCMP,” said Chief Petty Officer Austin Olmstead in a prepared statement. “The experience from this exercise has proved invaluable for my crew.”