US Coast Guard cutter arrives for Palawan maritime drill
United States Coast Guard Cutter Strantton arrived in Palawan on Wednesday to join the maritime drill ''Sama Sama'', which the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ( JMSDF) will join for the first time.
Capt. Armand Balilo, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman, said "Sama Sama" was formally launched by US Navy, Philippine Navy, and JMSDF in an opening ceremony in Puerto Princesa last Monday.
The exercise will last until October 19, the JMSDF said in a press statement.
According to the US Embassy "this is the third iteration of Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama, a maritime exercise designed to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance interoperability."
It added "this is the first year the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force will be a participant".
Balilo said "Strantton is the second US Coast Guard Cutter that visited the Philippines after the US pronounced the continuing presence of white ships in the Pacific region."
"Last May, USCG National Security Cutter Bertholf held a joint exercise with PCG vessels in the West Philippine Sea," he said.
"Also, US Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz will be arriving in Manila next week and will visit the Philippine Coast Guard and National Coast Watch Center," he added.
Balilo said "Admiral Schultz will be the second USCG Commandant to visit PCG".
Balilo also mentioned that "the US Marine led maritime law enforcement team with PCG Special Operations Force personnel opened Tuesday the five- day Kamandag Exercise 2019 dubbed as “Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma ng Dagat” at the National Headquarters PCG."
"The exercise aims to promote multinational military interoperability, readiness and capabilities and to strengthen international partnerships for immediate response to crises throughout the Indo-Pacific Region, increasing counter terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities through military exchanges," he said.
"The participants composed of eight personnel from the Philippine National Police Maritime Group, 12 personnel from the PCG, 15 personnel from the United States Marine Corps, and 18 personnel from the Philippine Navy-Marine Reconnaissance Group will undergo the rigid Vessel Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) training," he added. Robina Asido/DMS