Early bird! PH Navy first to arrive in Indonesia for Komodo exercise

After almost a week of travel by sea, the Philippine Navy (PN) finally arrived in Indonesia over the weekend for the Multilateral Naval Exercise “Komodo” (MNEK), making them the first contingent to turn up for the event.

A Philippine Navy (PN) personnel looks at an approaching vessel from the Indonesian Coast Guard as the Naval Task Group 80.5 arrives in Makassar, Indonesia on June 4, 2023 for the Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo. (Photo courtesy of PN)

The 193-strong Naval Task Group 80.5 (MNEK) aboard BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17), a Del Pilar-class patrol ship, crossed the equator safely and arrived in Makassar, Indonesia on Sunday, June 4, according to Lt. Jonathan Carretas, public affairs officer of the naval task group.

The ship departed the Naval Operating Base in Subic, Zambales last May 29, and was skippered by Commander Paul Michael Hechanova.

“The exercise emphasizes military operations other than war (MOOTW) with navies responding to natural disasters, humanitarian assistance, and maritime threats,” Carretas said in a statement on Monday, June 5.

Thirty-two countries will participate in the exercise which will kick off with an international fleet review at the Hatta Pier, Makassar City in the South Sulawesi province. 

The PN earlier said that the Komodo exercise aims to enhance the participating navies’ ability to build a common understanding on humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations and maritime interdiction operations.

The exercise carries the theme “Partnership to Recover and To Rise Stronger” to promote the spirit of collective awakening from the Covid-19 pandemic and increase friendship among countries for a better future, Carretas pointed out.

Bilateral meetings, international maritime security symposium, engineering civic action program, medical civic action program, and other activities will also be held all throughout the exercise.

Komodo will culminate on June 8 with a sea-phase exercise.