Ambassador Pyatt’s address to the press: US Coast Guard visit to the port of Piraeus
Wednesday April 28, 2021
Kalimera! Let me start by saying how honored it is for me to welcome the US Coast Guard Robert Goldman and Charles Moulthrope to the port of Piraeus.
These two cutters have just completed a historic transatlantic journey which I think would have made US Coast Guard founder Alexander Hamilton very proud as they made their way to their new home port in Bahrain where they will operate with the 5 of the US Navy.e Fleet.
I would like to thank my friend Minister Plakiotakis and Vice Admiral Kliaris for joining me in welcoming these American coast guards to Greece.
For 200 years, the United States and Greece have united to defend our common democratic values and promote peace and stability in the region. Maritime ties have been at the heart of this relationship since the earliest days of the Hellenic Republic, including the relief ships that sailed from the east coast to support Greek freedom fighters.
This visit by the US Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters and the combined exercises of our two cutters with the Hellenic Coast Guard this week highlight the strong tradition of US-Greek maritime collaboration. This deployment shows how the United States is strengthening national security by expanding the global reach of the United States Coast Guard and reaffirming our commitment to each other as NATO Allies.
Interoperability exercises conducted this week in the Aegean Sea between USCGC Hamilton and the Sixth Fleet help build and demonstrate naval power in all areas. U.S. Coast Guard operations in the Mediterranean and Aegean show how much progress we have made in integrating U.S. maritime service capabilities with allied and partner nations like Greece to jointly address security concerns. communes.
But this integration is not just happening between our armies. At the Embassy, our team is working to build bridges with all relevant ministries in Greece to develop inter-agency cooperation and shared security.
If we communicate regularly and firmly to all levels of government, we are better prepared to respond to maritime threats when they arise.
The Hellenic Coast Guard has been a formidable partner in this effort, alongside the Greek National Security Council, the Ministry of Citizen Protection, the Ministry of National Defense, the General Staff of Hellenic National Defense. and ministries of migration and foreign affairs.
In this regard, I would particularly like to congratulate the Hellenic Coast Guard on the seizure this week of 46.7 kilograms of cocaine from a ship in Corinth, with information provided by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration in Athens. This seizure highlights our long-standing partnership with the Hellenic Coast Guard, including the Coast Guard’s Underwater Operations Unit.
I also want to highlight how Greece adopted the US Coast Guard’s AMVER program. For those of you unfamiliar with AMVER, this is a remarkable global initiative sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard to help search and rescue authorities organize aid to people in distress at sea.
For two consecutive years, Greece has stood out as the first country to win more than 2,000 AMVER Awards. The rescue operations that these Greek ships carry out every year are truly inspiring. And it is no exaggeration to say that the Greek Merchant Navy is the world leader in helping to keep our waters and our commerce secure.
Our maritime relationship has important implications for national security and economic prosperity. This is why I am also delighted to see two good American bidders in the forthcoming privatizations of the ports of Alexandroupoli and Kavala.
Likewise, the Syros shipyard is now certified by the US Navy to maintain US military ships, and the US International Development Finance Corporation is looking to expand the scope of marine energy projects in Greece.
As you can see from the many joint exercises and ship visits that we have seen in recent weeks, such as Exercise INIOCHOS Air Force, USS Eisenhower’s visit to Souda Bay, Atlantic Resolve rotations in course in Alexandroupoli and Defender-Europe 21 from next. months – our defense and security relationship is stronger than ever, anchored in our common interests and our recently updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement.
The United States views Greece as a long-term strategic partner in this region, and these engagements between our forces send a powerful message that our countries are truly united as friends and allies of NATO.
Our updated MDCA benefits both countries, deepening our bilateral relationship, strengthening NATO and enhancing transatlantic security and stability.
As we mark the Greek Bicentennial this year, I know I speak on behalf of President Biden and the entire Biden-Harris administration in underscoring our enduring commitment to the U.S.-Greece alliance and our determination to elevate our relationships at even higher levels.
I want to conclude by expressing my thanks to Lt. Commander Blase, Lt. Commander Hulse, and the officers and crew of the U.S. Coast Guard ships who have made such a long journey of friends and family in the service of your countries to develop opportunities such as the ones we are pursuing this week here in Piraeus.
And finally thank you to the Hellenic Coast Guard and to everyone who joined us today for welcoming these crews so warmly here in Greece.