PHL, Aussie navies hold maritime security exercise in Tawi-Tawi

The Philippine Navy’s Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) command and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) are holding a joint exercise off the coast of Tawi-Tawi, an official said Tuesday.

Rear Adm. Rene Medina, NFWM commander, said the 10-day joint exercise — the second leg of the 4th Combined PN-RAN Maritime Security Activity — kicked off on Sunday in Tawi-Tawi.

The first leg of the Maritime Security Activity was held in the Naval Forces West Area of Responsibility in Palawan from July 16 to 25, this year.

Lt. Commander Musksin Jasid, NSJM chief, and Lt. Col. Judd Finger of the Australian government’s Joint Task Group 629 led the opening ceremony at the Naval Station Juan Magluyan (NSJM) in Batu-Bato, Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi.

It was followed by a fellowship games between the PN and RAN delegates and a boodle fight meal, which served as a symbol of brotherhood and strong bond between the two navies.

Medina said the 4th combined PN-RAN Maritime Security Activity includes the conduct of a series of meeting procedures and maritime patrols in the Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs), particularly in the waters of ZamPeLan, (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao) Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.

He said there will also be various ship drills aboard PN and RAN vessels to test the readiness of the crew.

The PN vessels BRP-Felix Apolinario (PC-395), BRP-Anastacio Cacayorin (PC-387, and Multipurpose Attack craft BA 482 are participating in the activity. The participating RAN vessels are the HMAS Wollongong and HMAS Ararat.

Medina underscored the importance of the activity in enhancing the maritime inter-operability between the PN and RAN and other regional state navies. It also complements the current operations of the Naval Task Group Basilan and Naval Task Group ZamPeLan to pre-empt and end piracy, kidnappings and terrorism in the maritime domain, he added. PNA