US set to transfer 2 patrol ships to PH

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    MANILA, Philippines — The United States Navy is set to transfer two Cyclone-class patrol ships to the Philippine Navy to further boost its capabilities in guarding and patrolling territorial waters.

    Both the USS Monsoon and USS Chinook were officially decommissioned in a ceremony held in Bahrain on Tuesday after 28 years of coastal patrol service.

    The US Naval Forces Central Command itself announced that the vessels designed for shallow-water operations “are slated for transfer to the Philippine Navy.”

    USS Monsoon was initially commissioned in 1994 and was recommissioned in 2008 after serving four years in the US Coast Guard, while the USS Chinook was commissioned in 1995.

    The US Navy said the two are the last of a group of 10 ships designed for shallow-water operations that were stationed in Bahrain.

    Last year, it decommissioned and transferred five patrol craft to the Royal Bahrain Naval Force and just last week, three more were decommissioned and transferred to the Egyptian Navy.

    The US Navy said Bahrain, Egypt and the Philippines are members of the largest multinational naval partnership in the world called Combined Maritime Forces.

    “Led by the United States, forces from the organization’s 38 nations operate across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international water space in the Middle East. The partnership ensures maritime security and stability in some of the world’s most important shipping lanes,” it said.

    PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. met with Coast Guard commandant Admiral Artemio Abu and discussed how to improve their partnership, including enhancing intelligence sharing, during a meeting last Monday.

    They also talked about conducting joint maritime patrols and common advocacy in environmental safety and security as well as the conservation of marine life.

    “The Philippine National Police will always put a premium on the partnership that we have with the Philippine Coast Guard not only because of our shared history but also because we serve with the same intensity and sincerity, always on alert, ever ready to serve, to secure, to protect,” Azurin said in a statement.

    Azurin also expressed his gratitude to the PCG for actively working with police units to provide conditions for marine safety, security, law enforcement and even search and rescue operations.

    In another development, Filipino fishermen in Pag-asa Island have expressed gratitude to the Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Navy for reportedly driving away a Chinese maritime militia vessel loitering in Philippine waters.

    In a television report, fisherman Larry Hugo said the incident only showed that the PCG and the PN are safeguarding Philippine waters being claimed by China.

    PCG adviser for maritime security Commodore Jay Tarriela refused to comment when asked for his reaction as he emphasized that they do not have information yet on the incident. ( M. Punongbayan with E.Tupas, R. Ramirez, PhilStar)

    CAPTION:

    US 5th Fleet leaders and sailors during a decommissioning ceremony in Bahrain for the USS Chinook on Tuesday. Apart from the Chinook, another patrol ship, the USS Monsoon, will be transferred by the US government to the Philippine Navy to boost its maritime capabilities.

    Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Vernier

     

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