MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) have conducted a joint maritime exercise at the waters off Subic Bay, Zambales on Tuesday, the PCG said.
In a statement, PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said the PCG and USCG performed exercises on vessel communication, search and rescue (SAR), small boat operation, multi-vessel maneuvering, and emergency response operation on distressed situations such as fire onboard and man overboard.
He said units under the Task Force Pagsasanay including BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301, BRP Sindangan (MRRV-4407), BRP Capones (MRRV-4404), PCG-manned Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessel, BRP Lapu-Lapu (MMOV-5001), and airbus helicopter, CGH-1451 represented the PCG.
Meanwhile, the USCG sent USCG Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) with Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Scan Eagle.
Members of the PCG joined the USCG aboard USCG Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) as they launched the UAS to aid in the SAR operation.
“The initiative served as an opportunity for the PCG and USCG to discuss best practices and learn from each other,” the PCG said.
The joint maritime exercise is anchored in the Philippine – United States cooperation to promote security and enhance law enforcement interoperability in the country’s maritime jurisdiction, it added.
PCG commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. said the strong partnership between the PCG and USCG has been “instrumental in the modernization of the armed service and the professionalism of its manpower through collaborative engagements and technical exchange programs.”
“The success of the joint maritime exercise between the PCG and USCG will not only strengthen international partnerships for immediate response to calamities and disasters but will also ensure that our personnel could effectively perform their mandated functions in countering terrorism and other acts of lawlessness in our country’s waters,” Ursabia added.
USCG Cutter Munro commanding officer Captain Blake Novak, for his part, said they thoroughly enjoyed the PCG’s professionalism and hospitality, and they look forward to future bilateral operations.
“As the maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region become increasingly complex, partnering with our Coast Guard counterparts is vital to our shared interest in a free and open maritime environment,” Novak said.
USCG Pacific Area commander Vice Admiral Michael McAllister also said that the strong ties between the PCG and USCG is rooted in a deep and abiding interest in a rules-based international order.
“Partnering with the Philippines to enhance maritime governance, including important missions such as search and rescue and enforcement of fisheries laws and treaties, is essential to the security, stability, and prosperity of all nations,” McAllister said.