US, Philippine navies complete coordinated patrol in Sulu Sea

Photo: US Navy

The U.S. and Philippine navies completed a coordinated patrol in the Sulu Sea at the invitation of the Government of the Philippines, July 1.

During the operation, crews from the Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) and the Del Pilar-class Frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF 16) worked closely together to detect and deter threats to maritime security.

“These patrols enhance regional peace and stability,” said Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, commander, Task Force 73. “Our at-sea operations with the Philippine navy demonstrate our commitment to the alliance and deter piracy and illegal activities.”

As part of the operation, a group of Philippine navy sailors embarked aboard Coronado to coordinate communications and movements between the two ships. The Philippine sailors also exchanged best practices with their U.S. counterparts in visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) techniques and information sharing.

The patrol strengthened maritime security cooperation between the U.S. and Philippine navies and enhanced both navies’ ability to respond to piracy and transnational criminal activity at sea, demonstrating U.S. commitment to the security of the Philippines and enduring U.S. interest in promoting stability and prosperity in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Just prior to the coordinated patrol, Coronado completed the Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama with the Philippine navy in the vicinity of Cebu. The exercise provided opportunities to sharpen tactical skills in maritime security operations that were employed during the coordinated patrol.

The U.S. and the Philippines continue to work together on a number of initiatives and conduct regular military exchanges through routine participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises such as Balikatan, the Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama, Southeast Asian Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), the Rim of the Pacific exercise (RIMPAC), the Asian Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-Plus), and other bilateral subject matter expert exchanges.

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