PH deepens ties with US, Asean allies with maritime exercise
The Philippines with its US and Southeast Asian counterparts on Monday launched this year’s Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), a maritime security exercise among regional navies and coast guards.
About a hundred local and foreign maritime law enforcement members from Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, US, Thailand and Vietnam will join the drills, the US Logistics Group Western Pacific in a news release.
The week-long exercise, which started in 2002, will address common concerns of maritime security threats in Southeast Asia such as illegal fishing, smuggling, illegal drug and human trafficking.
The Coast Guard hosted the launch held in Manila, spokesperson Capt. Armand Balilo said in a statement.
“This event also aims to promote international cooperation between participating agencies,” he said.
The drills will also feature integration of information sharing among allies through maritime information exchange hosted by the Information Fusion Center in Changi Naval Base in Singapore and 3rd Thai Naval Area Command in Thailand.
“Participating countries have sent liaison officers to man the watch team who will facilitate exchange of information, coordinate surveillance operations, and alert respective headquarters in the conduct of maritime interdiction operation/vessel board, search and seizure operation to the vessel of interest,” Balilo said.
The sea phase set at the end of the drills includes tracking and boarding operations west off Subic, Zambales and Sulu Sea.
“SEACAT demonstrates the combined commitment of navies, coast guards, law enforcement and other interagency organizations from the U.S. and ASEAN to work side-by-side in ensuring a transparent and inclusive information-sharing architecture where all partner nations, large and small, contribute to maritime domain awareness,” said Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, Commander Task Force 73. /cbb
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