United Kingdom

Exclusive-US Coast Guard seeks bigger role to search, board vessels in Pacific

By Kirsty Needham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The United States Coast Guard is in talks with Pacific Island countries to expand its maritime law enforcement role by allowing U.S. officers to board and search vessels suspected of illegal activity within their economic zones, officials said.

The push to expand the role of U.S. Coast Guard across millions of kilometres of ocean could see U.S. officials board Chinese vessels and comes after an intensification of rivalry in the Pacific between the U.S. and China, which is also seeking to increase its security and fisheries roles.