NFWM, Zamboanga City – The Philippine Navy (PN) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) successfully concluded its 2nd Combined Maritime Security Engagement (MSE) this Monday, April 2, 2018 at Officers’ Club, Naval Station Romulo Espaldon, Bagong Calarian, Zamboanga City. The Closing Ceremony was attended by Lt. Col. Judd Finger, the Commander of Joint Task Group 629 as the Keynote Speaker and Rear Adm. Rene V Medina, Commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao represented by Capt. Joe Anthony C Orbe, the Acting Commander of Naval Task Force 61 (NTF 61). Also present were the officers and crew of PN and RAN vessels engaged in the maritime patrol. Prior to the closing ceremony is the presentation of the review and evaluation on the just-held maritime cooperation. Moreover, RAN appreciated the professionalism and skills showed by their Filipino counterparts and emphasized that the engagement help out in the development of operational concepts and enhanced interoperability in handling threats faced by both countries in the maritime sphere. During the MSE, the PN through the NTF 61 of NFWM utilized the following vessels namely, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF15), BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS 38), BRP Felix Apolinario (PC 395), BRP Filipino Flojo (PC 386) and BRP Florencio Inigo (PC 393). Water Assets from the Australian Navy were the HMAS Broome (ACPB 90) and HMAS Launcestaun (ACPB 94). The patrol areas were along the Area of Operation of Joint Task Force Tawi-tawi, Sulu and Basilan. Recently, the PN and RAN successfully held its first Combined PN-RAN Maritime Security Engagement last Nov. 10- Dec. 1, 2017. The patrol areas were focused in the waters of Sulu Sea. This activity had enhanced the Maritime Cooperation with other regional navies and continues to secure the maritime domain of the Sulu Sea. The continuous partnership of both countries indicates the level of trust and the commitment to achieve a common goal of protecting the Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs) from terrorism and crimes perpetrated using the maritime space. Overall, the maritime cooperation accomplished all its objectives on improving the interoperability, enhancing professional skills and capabilities during the conduct of tactics and procedures aboard ship and exchanging of experiences on maritime operations that turn out to be highly beneficial for both parties. The Philippine Navy through the Naval Forces Western Mindanao will continue to perform its mandated tasks of securing the maritime domain of Western Mindanao unilaterally or in partnership with its allies.

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