By Betheena Kae Unite
An American vessel that will conduct several exercises and improve the maritime security capabilities of the United States Coast Guard and the Philippines’ arrived in Manila Wednesday.
The United States Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf, with its commanding officer Captain John Discroll, arrived at Pier 15 in Manila, following the capability training exercise conducted by both nations’ Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea Tuesday.
According to Admiral Elson Hermogino, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant, it was the first visit of a U.S. cutter to the country in over seven years.
The commandant said the visit was part of the US cutter’s deployment in the Indo-Pacific under the tactical control of the commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet “with the purpose of enhancing interoperability and capacity building between the United States Coast Guard (USG) and PCG.”
The Coast Guard of both nations conducted exercises for search and rescue and capability-building training on Tuesday at the disputed waters to further enhanced their capabilities in search and rescue, maritime security, and law enforcement.
The USCG Bertholf; the 56-meter BRP Batangas, a search and rescue vessel; and 24-meter BRP Kalanggaman, fast patrol boat, were deployed during the exercises.
“The officers and crew of Bertholf are excited to visit Manila and work with our counterparts in the Philippine Coast Guard as we share experiences in port and at sea in search and rescue and maritime law enforcement,” Driscoll said.
“On the personal side, I lived in the Philippines for several years as a young boy, but haven’t been back in 40 years. I’m excited to be reacquainted with the Philippine culture and people,” the captain added.
The USCG Bertholf is homeported in Alameda, California. It has a speed of 28+ knots and range of 12,000 nautical miles with approximately 170 crew onboard.