My name is Daniel Ulysse, I enrolled at the USCG Auxiliary Sector New York on July 28, 2008. When I joined our Flotilla 11-11 we hold our meeting at the Floyd Bennett Field The New York metropolitan area, also known as the “Tri-State area” includes the most populous city in the United States. According to the US Office of Management and Budget, the Tri-State area has about 19,069, 796 residents from hundreds of countries speaking over 300 languages and dialects.
New York City comprises Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley in New York State. Next to New York is New Jersey with six large and important cities; Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Trenton, and Clinton. The State of Connecticut has six important and large cities such as Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, and Danbury. Nearby places are Pike County and Pennsylvania. As per the 2010 Census, the New York City metropolitan area remains the most populous in the United States.
Since my Flotilla is located in Brooklyn, NY I will focus on the New York City-Long Island area and the need for more interpreters. Long Island is a very interesting place and home to many boaters. It is also home to two of New York City’s boroughs, Brooklyn and Queens, as well as the more suburban Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Since NY is a melting pot made of people from around the world, every major public institution including our courts, schools, hospitals and police department has bilingual or multi-language personal.
Among all the public institutions in the state of New York, the New York City Police Department, (NYPD) is the best example. The NYPD is the most diverse police department in the world. Besides the many US born police officers who speak a second language at home, there are several thousands of officers who were born from countries around the globe.
The NYPD officers speak seventy five languages. Thousands speak Spanish and hundreds speak Chinese, and other critical languages including Russian, Korean,, Polish, Arabic, Urdu, French, Bengali, Japanese, Creole, Italian. More than 1400 translators have volunteered in the department.
As a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Interpreter Corps I will take a few minutes to tell you about our organization and my experience with the group.
The US Coast Guard Interpreter Corps was formed in 1997 by Klaus and Brigitte Bawmann. A few years ago I had the privilege to work with these fine shipmates while they were living in Florida. The organization is well structured with a board that oversees our work. We have over 400 volunteer interpreters who speak 48 different languages and provide about 50,000 mission hours.
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary Interpreter Corps is a part of the US Coast Guard International Affairs Department. The interpreters are members of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. They offer their linguistic skills to the US Coast Guard and other agencies of the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department. The US Coast Guard Auxiliary Interpreter Corps has two competency levels.
Level “A” is the individual who fluently speaks, reads, write and understand a foreign language in addition to English. Level “B” interpreter speaks, and understand a foreign language in addition to English, but does not necessarily fluently read and write in any language.
In 2009 I had the opportunity to travel to Africa to as French & Creole level “A” Interpreter. During that mission I stayed for two weeks aboard the USS Nashville in Dakar Senegal. There two other French interpreters on that assignment. Senegal is a former French colony and French remains their official language. We translated for the USS Nashville crew and had an opportunity to interact with Senegalese officers. Every night after work we visited the city, and many of us went on a tour of the jungle, real zoo and other exotic places around Dakar.
As an interpreter you volunteer your time and talent while enjoying the chance to see the world.
Members of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Interpreter Corps measure up to the highest standards and have already provided over 50,000 Operation Support mission hours.
Besides the overseas missions there is a great need for Interpreters within the United States. We are often called by the US Coast Guard when non English boaters are in need in waters in our shores. There have been a few major incidents that got international media attention in the United States. One of them, “The Golden Venture Saga” happened in Queens, New York in 1997.
The Golden Venture was a 147 foot long cargo ship that smuggled 286 illegal immigrants from China. There were 13 crew members aboard the vessel. The vessel ran aground on a sandbar near Jacob Riis Park on Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York on June 6, 1993, about 2 am. The incident occurred after a mutiny by one smuggler who locked up the captain.
The ship sailed from Thailand, stopped in Kenya and circled cap of Good Hope, then headed northwest across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City during a four-month voyage. 10 people drowned in their attempts to flee the stranded ship and reach the shore.
Agent from the Immigration Naturalization Service, (INS) arrested the undocumented aliens and they were placed in various prisons across the United States while their application were been evaluated.
10 percent were granted asylum, the minors were released and half of the remainder were deported. On February 27, 1997 former president Bill Clinton released the Chinese immigrants who were jailed in the United States.
The Golden Venture got more attention in the media and in our various law enforcement agencies not only because of the undocumented Chinese immigrants, but because the voyage was organized by a powerful Chinese gang lead by a Chinese mobster named Guo Liang Chi. Liang Chi was also known in the street as “Ah Kay”. He was also the leader of the Fuk Ching, the most powerful Asian group in New York City in 1993.
The state of Florida being the gateway to the Caribbean has greater need for USCG Interpreters than every state of the union. In the early 1980s there USCG had to deal with two major events in Florida, The Mariel Boat Lift and the Haitian Boat People phenomena. Several hundreds of Haitian immigrants perished in a number of boat smuggling operations.
Certainly the need for USCG Interpreters is greater in Florida more than here in New York because of its geographical proximity to the Caribbean and many other poor and political unstable countries.
I enjoy being a part of the USCG interpreter Corps and encourage every member who speaks and writes fluently another language to sign in as level “A”. Those who speak and and understand another language can register in the Interpreter Corps as a level “B”
If you are already a member in our Flotilla in the Tri-State and you would like more information contact our FSO-CO Communications Mr. Victor Kleiman (917) 533-1063 E-mail