JUNEAU (AP) -- U.S. Coast Guard members are meeting with their Russian counterparts this week in Alaska to share information on the agencies' roles and discuss ways to better coordinate search and rescue operations.
Lt. David Arritt, a 17th District Coast Guard search and rescue coordinator, said the two groups are talking about search and rescue missions in the Bering Sea and safety inspections aboard oil tankers.
The Coast Guard does not conduct many joint search and rescue operations with the Russians, said Petty Officer Roger Wetherell of Juneau.
''But having a cooperative agreement in place is important, so when we do search and coordinate with the Russians, we do so along the same lines and put our efforts together in the best possible way,'' Wetherell said.
The Russian officials participating are Capt. Anatoly Vyborov of the Vladivostok Marine Rescue Coordination Center and Mikhail Egorov of the Sakhalin State Maritime Administration.
On Tuesday afternoon, Coast Guard search and rescue crews demonstrated at-sea retrieval of a man overboard in an exercise in Gastineau Channel.
On Wednesday, the groups were traveling to Sitka to tour the Coast Guard station there, where they planned to watch a demonstration of a helicopter rescue of a swimmer.
The Russian visitors, their hosts and two interpreters then planned to fly to Kodiak for a visit at the Coast Guard's largest air station in Alaska and tour the cutter Storis, the oldest in the Coast Guard's fleet.
On Friday morning, the Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage will host the groups. Then the coordinators will go to Fort Richardson for an oil spill equipment response demonstration.
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