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TUNIS, Tunisia (April 21, 2021) USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) moored in Tunisia’s La Goulette Harbor on April 21, 2021. Charles Moulthrope and USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) are en route to their new homeport in Bahrain in support of the Navy’s U.S. Fifth Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. The U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessels are conducting operations in the U.S Naval Forces Sixth Fleet area of operations supporting U.S. national interests and security in Europe and Africa. – Image: Petty Officer 1st Class Sydney Niemi, USCG

Yesterday (04 May 2021), the US Coast Guard (USCG) announced from Tunisia’s capital Tunis that it continues to build ties with the Tunisia Coast Guard – which shares the Mediterranen Dialogue Countries obligations.

COs of the USCG Cutters Charles Moulthrope and Robert Goldman – Lt Cmdr Steven Hulse and Lt Cmdr Samuel Blase, respectively – pose with an unidentified Tunisian Coast Guard Official – Photo USCG

On 25 April 2021, The Sentinel-class fast response cutters USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC 1141) and USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) departed Tunis after a routine logistics visit and PR engagements with Tunisian allies.  This port visit marks the first USCG visit to Tunisia in more than 25 years and the cutters’ second stop en route to their new homeport of Manama, Bahrain. From there, the Charles Moulthrope and Robert Goldman will support the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. While it is currently in the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet area of responsibility, the two USCGC’s crews will support engagements with partner countries.

A boarding team from USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC 1141) transits to a local fishing vessel during a boarding exercise with the Tunisian navy from the offshore patrol vessel Jugurtha (P 610) in the Mediterranean Sea on April 23, 2021. Charles Moulthrope and USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) are en route to their new homeport in Bahrain in support of the Navy’s U.S. Fifth Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. The U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessels are conducting operations in the U.S Naval Forces Sixth Fleet area of operations supporting U.S. national interests and security in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Collin Strange/Released)
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Moulthrope and Goldman Commanding Officers engaged with navy leadership, local dignitaries and conducted interoperability and familiarisation exercises with the Tunisian navy during the stop in Tunis.  The USCG cooperation with Tunisia’s Coast Guard and Navy dates back More than two decades:

  • in 1999 – with the deployment of USCGC Bear (WMEC 901) in operations with the Tunisian Navy and Royal Moroccan
  •  in 1995 – USCGC Dallas (WHEC 716) cooperation with Tunisian Navy counterparts to share best practices for responding to maritime issues and at-sea emergencies as well as ongoing international training efforts.

According to yesterday’s USCG release, the visit is a “continuation of our commitment to our Tunisian partners”, as the US continues to further strengthen its position in North Africa, expressing shared security goals between the US and Tunisian forces.   A most recent example is the January 2021 joint maritime operations between Military Sealift Command Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Trenton (T EPF 5) and Tunisian navy partners.  The excercise sought to improve Tunisia’s ability to protect its maritime borders, and enhance critical lifesaving and overall maritime security capabilities.

Note: the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet is headquartered in Naples, from where it conducts a range of joint operations with allied partners to advance US interests in Europe and Africa.