HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 22) - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, bearing donated Christmas gifts from various groups from Guam, visited residents on the islands of Agrihan and Pagan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands last week.

Agrihan is located about 374 miles north of Guam and is currently home to 11 people. Pagan is about 46 miles south of Agrihan.

The formerly uninhabited Pagan recently has been settled by seven residents, Coast Guard officials said.

"Many Guam organizations donated Christmas gifts, notably the nonprofit Ayuda Foundation, Micronesian Divers Association, and Andersen (Air Force Base). The gifts of clothing, toys, and food supplies were well received by grateful residents of CNMI's northern islands," Coast Guard officials said in a press release.

The Guam-based Galveston Island is a 110-foot patrol boat responsible for patrolling the waters of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Along with distributing holiday donations, Galveston Island's emergency medical technician provided health care for island residents, performing check-ups and arranging for further medical aid. The crew returned to Guam on Friday.

"As well as being a humanitarian mission, Galveston Island was also on the lookout for any suspicious activities in CNMI's northern borders." Coast Guard officials said. "Well aware of the potential for smuggling or other illegal activities on the remote islands north of Saipan, the Coast Guard cooperated closely with other federal law enforcement agencies."

During the visit to the islands, the resident agent-in-charge of Guam's Drug Enforcement Agency office accompanied the Galveston crew for a close inspection of the islands.

"The Coast Guard and other federal law enforcement agencies wish to send the message that they are not blind to the potential for illegal acts on CNMI's remote islands and are taking aggressive actions to keep CNMI's borders free of any such activities," Coast Guard officials said in a written statement.

December 22, 2003

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