(MNS Photo)

MANILA, Sept 1 (Mabuhay) — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and United States Coast Guard (USCG) on Tuesday held a joint maritime exercise in the waters off Subic Bay, Zambales, the PCG said on Wednesday.

In a statement, PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said they performed vessel communication and multi-vessel maneuvering as well as search and rescue, small boat, and emergency response operations.

The USCG sent USCG Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) with Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Scan Eagle for the exercises.

Meanwhile, the PCG used Task Force Pagsasanay units like BRP Gabriela Silang, BRP Sindangan, BRP Capones, PCG-manned Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel, BRP Lapu-Lapu, and Airbus helicopter CGH-1451.

The PCG members joined the USCG aboard USCG Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) as they launched the UAS to aid in the SAR operation.

This served as an opportunity for the PCG and USCG to discuss best practices and learn from each other, the PCG said.

According to the PCG, the joint maritime exercise is based on the two countries’ cooperation to promote security and enhance law enforcement interoperability in the country’s maritime jurisdiction.

For PCG commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr., the partnership of PCG and USCG helps modernize the armed service and professionalize manpower through 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 said.

USCG Cutter Munro commanding officer Captain Blake L. Novak appreciated the PCG’s professionalism and hospitality of the PCG and looked forward to more 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 F. McAllister attributed the strong bilateral relationship to their 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. (MNS)

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