Cutter Completes Iraqi Aid Mission

Wednesday, May 07, 2003
Coast Guard cutter Walnut, a 225-ft. buoy tender homeported in Honolulu, today completed its 20-day humanitarian mission of properly marking the navigational channel of the Khawr Abd Allah waterway leading from the North Arabian Gulf to Iraq’s critical port of Umm Qasr. The Walnut completely replaced 30 buoys and repaired an additional five along the 41-mile waterway, vastly improving the navigational safety of the waterway for humanitarian aid sailing to the port and providing a critical step towards the economic recovery of the people of Iraq. The majority of the equipment used in the navigational improvements was located in a warehouse in Umm Qasr and was inspected and upgraded to ensure that the buoys matched as closely as possible to the charted channel. The Walnut was originally deployed to the North Arabian Gulf with an oil spill recovery system in the event the regime of Saddam Hussein committed any acts of environmental terrorism. When those threats did not materialize the cutter conducted maritime interdiction operations enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions, participated in the search for two downed United Kingdom helicopters, and patrolled and provided assistance to captured Iraqi offshore oil terminals.

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