Two Australian ships arrive in Zamboanga City for maritime drill with Philippine Navy
Two ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) arrived Zamboanga City on Friday to participate in a three-week maritime security engagement with the Philippine Navy.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, Naval Forces Western Mindanao commander with Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely and Australian Defense Attache, Capt. Bradley Ian White welcomed the officers and crew of Her Majesty Australian Ship (HMAS) Larrakia and Her Majesty Australian Ship (HMAS) Maitland.
Medina said the event was attended by Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and other officials of the local government.
“Part of the visit is the open house or the shipboard tour that was held aboard the two RAN Ship ? HMAS Larrakia and HMAS Maitland and open for public viewing to the locals of Zamboanga City from 9 o’clock in the morning until 12 o’clock in the afternoon,” he said.
“The visit of the Royal Australian Navy is in connection with the conduct of the Combined Philippine Navy-Royal Australian Navy Maritime Security Engagement from November 10 to December 1, 2017 which will be held along the Naval Forces Western Mindanao Area of Responsibility,” he added.
Medina said the engagement includes a series of meeting procedures and planning or coordination for the conduct of the combined patrols in the area of responsibility.
“This is likewise in support to the anti-terrorism and piracy campaign of the government,” he said
Medina said aside from the two Royal Australian Navy Ships which are both Armidale Class Patrol Boats, the naval assets that will be used under the control of Naval Forces Western Mindanao were ships of Naval Task Force (NTF) 61 namely, BRP Dioscoro Papa (PC 381); BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS 28); BRP Davao Del Sur (LD 602) and BRP Emilio Liwanag (PC 118).
“Aside from enhancing the maritime cooperation with other regional navies, the training activity with RAN to secure the vast maritime domain of the Sulu Sea proves that the Philippine Navy particularly the Naval Forces Western Mindanao does not work alone in protecting and maintaining the peace, order and stability in its area of responsibility,” he said.
“This upholds to a strong relationship of the PN and RAN when it comes to maritime patrol and security,” he added.
“Furthermore, the Philippines in coordination and cooperation with the Navies from Indonesia and Malaysia established a Trilateral Cooperative Agreement agreeing to encourage the operationalization of the Standard Operating Procedure for Maritime Patrol and Rendering Immediate Assistance, Operating Guidelines on Information and Intelligence Sharing and Combined Communication Plan,” said Medina.
It can be recalled that just RAN Ship HMAS Parramatta and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF 16) also had its successful execution of Passing Exercises (PASSEX) and Communications and Electronics Exercise (COMMELEX) along the vicinity of Sulu Sea last September. Robina Asido/DMS