Smooth sailing in the Philippines

The recent visit to the Philippines, by two Australian Navy ships of the Indo-Pacific Task Group has significantly reinforced the strong defense relationship between Australia and the archipelago.

Led by HMAS Adelaide in company with HMAS Darwin, both ships were welcomed to the Port of Manila by the Philippines Navy for a full day of engagements including the visit by the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.

The Task Group later sailed to Subic Bay for a four-day visit, where both ships received over several hundred visitors eager to view the new capabilities the Australian Defence Force had on offer.

To demonstrate the capability of the Canberra class amphibious ship to support regional responses disasters, the Australian Defence Force and Philippine Marine Corps conducted a combined humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise in Subic Bay.

The training activity involved more than 80 Philippine personnel plus their vehicles, which had embarked Adelaide and were deployed ashore by Australian landing craft and Philippine riverine craft.

Despite demanding weather continues due to the Typhoon Khanun to the east of the Philippines, the combined response force was able to rapidly deploy ashore.

Commander of the Joint Task Group and Commanding Officer of Adelaide, Captain Jonathan Earley, said the exercise was an important activity for both countries who share common interests and threats from natural disasters.

“This is the first time the Philippines Defence Forces have had the opportunity to work with the landing helicopter dock,” Captain Earley said.

“This training and exposure to our respective capabilities is a sound investment for the future, in that should either country be called upon to respond to a natural disaster in our region, we will be able to come together quickly and seamlessly to provide the necessary support to those who need it most.”

In addition to the exercise, Adelaide hosted a visit by participants of Exercise LUMBAS, which is an annual bi-lateral exercise between the Royal Australian Navy, Philippine Navy and other Philippine Government Agencies to enhance and develop procedures for the conduct of maritime support and maritime interdiction operations throughout the Philippines.