A US patrol vessel will arrive in Argentine ports in January to combat illegal fishing

In the sites specialized in naval activities in the United States, it is reported at this time that it is “the first patrol of service to South America in recent memory” and that it involves “partners” such as Argentina, Brazil, Guyana, Portugal and Portugal.

These sites speak of the operation that the US patrol vessel USCGC Stone (United States Coast Guard Cutter) will begin in a few days in the South Atlantic, which does not go unnoticed.

It happens that the American patrol will have a high level of cooperation from the government of Alberto Fernández and its Minister of Security, Sabina Frederic -Who manages the prefecture and therefore its ties-, in activities that, on the contrary, had been suspended or diminished during the administration of former president Cristina Kirchner as a result of the conflicts – hyper ideologized – with Washington that had affected the exchange in Defense and Security.

The meetings now not only take place in a context of a zigzag link, although more fluid than before 2015 – Mauricio Macri reestablished the relationship – but the USCGC ship is expected in the port of Mar del Plata for January. It does not have a scheduled day, but it will enjoy a reception adapted to the pandemic during the first month of January, which coincides precisely with the inauguration of Joe Biden, with whom Fernández seeks a rapprochement.

Although it is the USCGC it is a patrol vessel that depends on the Coast Guard, and this one from Homeland Security, its unusual presence in this area recalls the activities of the fleet of the so-called Southern Command, which raised both awareness in the countries for its acts of deterrence during the Cold War. And it depended on the Department of Defense.

However, the USCGC’s deterrence will now be the presence of other geopolitical characteristics: aims to intimidate illegal activities, illicit trafficking and especially illegal fishing, which has become one of the main scourges in the waters of the planet.

But the message also has content against the new rivals of the United States: China. “While much attention has been paid to the Pacific, where US officials say China’s expanding fishing and patrol fleets have flaunted international law and threaten the economic security and sovereignty of nations, there are similar concerns over resources. natives of the South Atlantic ”, begins a letter from the US Naval Institute about the arrival of the USCGC in this area.

“The growing concern about illegal activities in the fisheries off South America, including the sightings of more Chinese and Asian fishing boats, has led Argentina to buy new offshore patrol boats for its coast guard ”, he warns in reference to official policy, which even Frederic maintains.

In his various meetings with the outgoing ambassador of the United States, Edward Prado – who would end his mission when Joe Biden assumed the presidency on January 20 – cooperation on security matters was sustained and even increased.

In addition to the approval of a new fishing law this year, which increased the fines for vessels that commit illicit crimes, Frederic has been supporting the Prefecture – it arrested and fined three foreign vessels, two Chinese and one Portuguese – and assigned a helicopter for special operations.

The USCGC Stone Legend-class (WMSL) has a crew of 120 men and women. Although they moor in Mar del Plata, they will not carry out activities with the Argentines and neither could they go ashore because approval from the Argentine Congress is required. In theory they will not sail within 200 miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone either.

The inaugural deployment is “a multi-month deployment to the South Atlantic to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing while strengthening relations for maritime sovereignty and security throughout the region,” said a Guard press release. Coastal.

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