Australia, Philippine navies hold joint drills in Celebes Sea

Ships of the Royal Australian Navy and Philippine Navy conducted joint drills in Celebes Sea at the vicinity of Balut Island Sarangani, Davao Occidental on September 21.

Royal Australia Navy photo

The joint drills included passing exercise, maritime maneuvers, and communication drills.

Jacinto-class corvette BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36), deployed at the said sea for Territorial Defense Operations (TDO), represented the Philippine Navy.

HMAS Stuart (FF-153) and HMAS Arunta (FF-151), in a Regional Presence Deployment, represented the Royal Australian Navy.

“PS36 successfully escorted said RAN ships safely up to the common borders of the Republic of the Philippines and Republic of Indonesia bound towards their country Australia,” Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao said.

“This exercise has shown what can be achieved between key partners even during a global pandemic,” Arunta’s Commanding Officer Commander Troy Duggan said.

The Royal Australian Navy said HMAS Hobart, Stuart, Arunta and Sirius left Australia for deployment in July and were on their way home after the successful completion of Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii.

It noted that Regional Presence Deployment demonstrates Australia’s commitment to sustaining strong and positive defence relationships with regional nations as well as the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.