Fil-Am, Japanese joint coast guard maritime training completed

Japan dispatched three members of its coast guard to join their Filipino and US counterparts in conducting a weeks-long maritime law enforcement exercises that started May 14 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Personnel from the Japan Coast Guard's (JCG) Mobile Cooperation Team (MCT) provided capacity-building support to the Philippine Coast Guard during a multinational vessel boarding officer course, the Japanese Embassy in Manila said Tuesday, May 30.

According to the embassy, MCT is a special team providing foreign coast guard agencies with technical support on maritime safety and security. Its members participated as instructors in the training course, which concluded on May 27, and trained PCG officers on arresting techniques.

Photo courtesy of Japan Coast Guard

Aside from PCG members, officers from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Center and the Vietnam Department of Fisheries Surveillance were also part of the training.

The recent maritime-related exercise was only one of the several collaborations among the Philippines, Japan and the US. In June, the PCG will hold a week-long trilateral maritime exercise with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) off Bataan to improve the three countries' maritime cooperation and understanding.

The recent course was also part of US-Japan joint efforts named "SAPPHIRE," the Japanese embassy said.

"This was the third time for the USCG and the JCG to conduct a joint training for foreign coast guard agencies since the signing of the annex of the Memorandum of Cooperation last year," it added.

Japan said its coast guard will continue to cooperate with coast guard agencies from other countries "to realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) based on the rule of law and will engage actively to contribute to developing coast guard agencies in the Indo-Pacific region."