BRP Ramon Alcaraz returns home from first ASEAN-United States maritime exercise in Thailand

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The Philippine Navy (PN) accorded a fitting arrival an welcome ceremony here today for the returning around 160-man contingent onboard BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) after their successful participation in the inaugural ASEAN United States Maritime Exercise (AUMX) conducted off the waters of Sattahip,Thailandon Sept. 2 to 6, 2019 and Port Visit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Representing the PN Flag Officer In Command was the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Adm. Loumer P Bernabe who oversaw the ceremony and joined the families and friends for the homecoming of sailors and marines comprising the Naval Task Force (NTF) 80.5 headed by its commander, Navy Captain Hilarion Cesista.

In his remarks, Rear Adm. Bernabe stated that the participation of the Philippine Navy to the ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise 2019 and the third visit in Vietnam is another defining moment for the organization. He added, “Our presence signifies the continuing support we extend in fostering peace, security and progress in the Southeast Asean region. Wesuccessfully achieve our objective to enhance and strengthen cooperation, partnership and unity with other participants through AUMX and the port visit conducted in Vietnam.”

AUMX 2019 is the first ever maritime drill between the navies of the ASEAN member states and the United States of America and the fourth International Defense and Security Engagement that the PN has participated in this year. Highlight of this exercise was the sea phase executed in the Gulf of Thailand wherein PS16 joined six other warships in the conduct of scenario-based visit, board, search and seizure of chartered commercial ships as vessels of interest.

During the return sail, NTG 80.5 made a stop at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for a port visit aimed to reinforce diplomatic ties. In here, they interacted with counterparts from the 2nd Naval Region of the Vietnam People’s Navy that included courtesy calls and other confidence-building activities such as shipboard tour, reception and friendly games.

The PN’s successful participation in AUMX 2019 and Port Visit in Vietnam was another big leap in enhancing and advancing the organization’s core competency and operational capabilities of surface assets in naval operations to multilateral level, thereby increasing readiness and interoperability. Further, it was an opportunity to showcase that the PN can keep up with other navies in the world. NAVY.MIL.PH