HMA Ships Hobart and Stalwart berthed at Manila, Philippines, for a five-day port visit as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2022 (IPE22).

The port visit followed the multilateral naval exercise, Sama Sama Lumbas, between regional partners, including Australia and the Philippines.

Commanding Officer Stalwart Commander Steve McCracken highlighted the importance of working together on the exercise.

“Sama Sama Lumbas was significant because we conducted the first replenishment at sea with Philippine Navy ship BRP Jose Rizal,” Commander McCracken said.

“Both countries worked hard to prove our capability at sea and demonstrate that we can work together as partners, and our visit here to Manila will help strengthen our relationship.”

Commander McCracken said being part of IPE22 was a privilege for the ship’s company.

“It has been a great opportunity for the ship and her crew to conduct our first port visits and international deployment,” Commander McCracken said.

“This has given us the chance to work with our regional partners to increase our interoperability.”

Philippine Navy officer and Representative of the Flag Officer in Command, Commander Hilario N. Casamar, said he was pleased the Philippine Navy had the opportunity to work with the Australian Navy.

“Both nations participating in these exercises gives our navy a very good learning experience to improve and develop our capabilities,” Commander Casamar said.

“By working with the Australian Navy we can see that the Philippine Navy is in good shape and can perform our job at sea.”

During the visit to Manila, Australia worked with representatives from Philippines defence and security agencies to conduct a series of activities.

These included maritime security workshops, a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, tabletop exercise, gender, peace, and security panel exchange, and key leadership engagement, notably through visiting Deputy Chief of Joint Operations.