Philippine Coast Guard Will Hold First-Ever Trilateral Exercise with U.S., Japan

May 29, 2023 6:25 PM
BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4402)

MANILA — The Philippine Coast Guard will hold maritime exercises with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Japan Coast Guard near the Chinese-occupied Scarborough Shoal this week.

The trilateral maritime exercise will start on June 1, and will be held in the waters of Mariveles, Bataan, is the first for the PCG which is facing an aggressive China in the South China Sea.

BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702), BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301), BRP Boracay (FPB-2401) and one 44-meter multi-role response vessel will conduct the exercise with National Security Cutter USGCC Stratton (WMSL-752) and Japanese patrol vessel Akitsushima (PLH-32).

According to the PCG, the trilateral maritime exercise will strengthen interoperability through communication exercises, maneuvering drills, photo exercises, maritime law enforcement training, search and rescue and a passing exercise.

“Participating coast guard personnel will demonstrate a scenario involving a suspected vessel involved in piracy,” reads a statement from the Philippine government.
“The joint law enforcement team from the three coast guards will carry out a boarding inspection followed by a [search and rescue] operation.”

PCG Officer-in-Charge Vice Adm. Rolando Lizor Punzalan said the combined maritime exercise would also improve maritime cooperation and understanding.

“The U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard have been assisting us in our human resource development program, particularly in law enforcement training. This is a good opportunity to thank and show them what our personnel learned from their programs,” Punzalan said.

The week-long engagement will also involve a sporting event to strengthen the three Coast Guards’ camaraderie, a special interest exchange for women in maritime law enforcement, and an expert exchange for PCG personnel’s professional development.

The exercises followed the government’s installation of five additional navigational buoys off the coast of Luzon Island as Manilla asserts its sovereignty over nearby waters, while China placed its own buoys.

Last month a China Coast Guard Cutter nearly collided with PCG patrol vessel BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4402).

Malapascua (MRRV-4402) and BRP Malabrigo (MRRV-4403) encountered a PLAN Type 054A frigate, hull number 549, 7 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island, internationally known as Thitu Island and part of the disputed Spratly Islands, on April 21,” reported USNI News.
“Embarked media reported and filmed a near collision between the two ships when the CCG. The Philippines ship stopped its engines and reversed, averting a potential collision.”

Rene Acosta

Rene Acosta

Rene Acosta is a journalist based in the Philippines where he covers defense and national security. He was formerly the president of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines.

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