September 5, 2022
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) have concluded its joint search and rescue exercises off Mariveles, Bataan, which included sea-phase demonstrations and anti-piracy exercises.
The PCG , in a statement on Sunday, said that the training with the USCG Cutter Midgett (WMSL-757) was conducted from September 2 to 3 24 nautical miles southwest of Mariveles, Bataan.
It involved drills like communication exercises, maneuvering drills, photo exercises, decoding messages through flag hoisting, flashing exercises, publication exercises, small boat operations, boarding operations, search and rescue exercises, as well as medical assistance.
PCG said sea-phase demonstrations were also held to conclude the port visit of USCG Cutter Midgett, which arrived in Manila on August 30.
During the demonstration, the PCG’s 83-meter offshore patrol vessel, BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301), responded to a distress call from a simulated cargo vessel, BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702).
USCGC Midgett was requested to render assistance.
The BRP Gabriela Silang also deployed its rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) to rescue simulated survivors out of the water and turn them over for medical assessment.
PCG vessels also performed regular anti-piracy exercise, with two teams of the PCG’s Law Enforcement Afloat Detachment (LEAD) enacting evidence preservation, investigation, and case build-up to establish the offenders’ orderly prosecution and conviction.
PCG Commandant CG Admiral Artemio M Abu explained that piracy “is a high sea and universal crime where cooperation among Coast Guard counterparts is crucial to achieving success.”
“Hence, members of the PCG LEAD teams trained with the help of the USCG, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) to ensure the proper execution of visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) during anti-piracy operations,” he said.
USCGC Midgett is the fourth USCG vessel that has visited the Philippines, following USCGC Waesche in 2012, USCGC Bertholf in 2019, and USCGC Munro in 2021.
USCG Cutter Midgett, Coast Guard Fleet Commander, CG Rear Admiral Charlie Rances emphasized that the PCG-USCG joint SAR exercise aimed to address maritime safety challenges by evaluating the PCG and USCG’s capabilities for information exchange and interoperability at sea among participating units, surface, and air assets.
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Loss Carlson said that the mission also intended to contribute toward attaining a connected, open, and secure Indo-Pacific region.