US destroyer starts Oceania maritime security patrols

US Navy’s Hawaii-homeported destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) and embarked US Coast Guard personnel started joint maritime security patrols in the Western Pacific on March 26.

The destroyer’s mission is part of the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) which is designed to reduce and eliminate illegal fishing and other illicit activities on the high seas.

The efforts are concentrated in the exclusive economic zones for the Pacific Island Nations of Oceania.

“This will be Michael Murphy’s third OMSI patrol following previous events in 2014 and 2017,” said Cmdr. Kevin Louis, commanding officer of Michael Murphy. “OMSI is critical to supporting maritime security and law enforcement in the Oceanic region and also serves to strengthen US relationships and presence in the region.”

Nine personnel from the Coast Guard and regional law enforcement officers from the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands are operating from Michael Murphy during the mission.

“A lot of the countries we are helping out depend mainly on fishery as the main source of their gross domestic product,” said Lt. j.g. John M. Dierker, the Coast Guard’s liaison officer aboard Michael Murphy. “OMSI helps deter illegal fishing in the area and it shows the island nations of the Western Pacific that the United States cares about them and their natural resources.”

Michael Murphy, based in Pearl Harbor, began its current deployment January 15 as part of the Carl Vinson strike group. The ship has conducted passing exercises with the French frigate FNS Vendémiaire and port calls to the Philippines and Guam.

Michael Murphy was commissioned in 2012 and is named after former US Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan, June 28, 2005. He was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan and was the first member of the US Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.