U.S., Partner Navies Sail Together in South China Sea
(Source: US Navy; issued May 09, 2019)
Having been told by China to keep out, the US Navy has again sent a destroyer to show the flag in the South China Sea, accompanied by warships from regional allies India, Japan and the Philippines. (JMSDF photo)
SOUTH CHINA SEA --- A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer joined ships from the Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Republic of Philippine Navy to sail through the South China Sea, May 2-8.

Transiting through international waters were USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), Indian Navy destroyer INS Kolkata (D 63) and tanker INS Shakti (A 57), JMSDF helicopter-carrier JS Izumo (DDH 183) and destroyer JS Murasame (DD 101), and Philippine Navy patrol ship BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS 17).

“Our team was really excited to take part in this multi-lateral event,” Cmdr. Andrew J. Klug, commanding officer, USS William P. Lawrence, said. “Professional engagements with our allies, partners and friends in the region are opportunities to build upon our existing, strong relationships, as well as learn from each other.”

The ships conducted formation exercises, communication drills, passenger transfers and held a leadership exchange aboard JS Izumo.

“The opportunity of a multi-sail with U.S. Navy and regional partners was a great experience. In addition to building mutual understanding and trust, it also served as a way to enhance peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Rear Adm. Hiroshi Egawa, commander, Escort Flotilla 1, said. “The ability to do various exercises among four different navies smoothly demonstrated professionalism and high operational skills."

Events like this provide opportunities for like-minded navies to train together and promote maritime cooperation throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“Our bond of friendship with our regional partners is as strong as our commitment to maintain peace and stability in the region,” Capt. Jerry Y. Garrido Jr., commanding officer, BRP Andres Bonifacio, said.

U.S. 7th Fleet provides security alongside allies and partners throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific. As the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet operates roughly 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors.

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BRP Andres Bonifacio Joins Group Sail for Singapore
(Source: Philippine News Agency; issued May 10, 2019)
MANILA --- BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17), one of the Philippine Navy's (PN) most capable offshore patrol vessels, on Thursday joined ships of the navies of India, Japan and the United States as it transited to Changi, Singapore, where the second phase of the ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers' Meeting Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019 will conclude on May 14.

The first phase of the maneuvers was held in Busan, South Korea from April 29 to May 2.

"BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110)," Naval Task Group 80.6 public affairs officer Lt. Maria Christina A. Roxas said in statement.

The combined transit exercise aims to deepen the partnership and foster mutual understanding between participating navies. During the week-long transit, the ships conducted a series of training exercises and social interactions.

It will transit through the West Philippine Sea, where a conduct of “freedom of safe navigation” is applied in support of a rules-based international system benefiting all countries.

Also, this naval activity validates the decades of friendship, partnership and cooperative engagement that has been long established and observed between the Philippines, US, Japan and India.

“The group sail showed the active participation of the Philippine Navy as it strengthens its relationships with allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. This gives us another opportunity to learn from like-minded navies,” Naval Task Group 80.6 commander and PN head to ADMM Plus delegation, Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad said.

Meanwhile, BRP Andres Bonifacio commanding officer, Capt. Jerry Y. Garrido said the activity highlights the PN's commitment to maintain peace in the region.

Also, USS William P. Lawrence skipper, Commander Andrew J. Klug said “professional engagements with our allies, partners and friends in the region allow us the opportunity to build upon our existing, strong relationships, as well as learn from each other.”

In an official statement from the Indian Navy, the group sail was aimed at enhancing maritime cooperation, synergy of maritime engagements, sharing best practices and standardizing operating procedures.

On the other hand, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Escort Flotilla Division One commander, Rear Admiral Hiroshi Egawa said he proud that the JMSDF has participated in this historic activity. "I look forward for more engagements with our partners in the region,” the Japanese naval official stressed.

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IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti Undertake Group Sail with Naval Ships of Japan, Philippines and the USA
(Source: Indian Ministry of Defence; issued May 09, 2019)
IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti carried out Group Sail with naval ships of Japan, Philippines and the United States of America in the South China Sea from 03 May to 09 May 19.

The six-day long Group Sail had participation of six combatants from the four participating countries and included the Guided Missile Destroyer INS Kolkata and Fleet Support Ship INS Shakti of India, Helicopter Carrier JMSDF Izumo and Guided Missile Destroyer JMSDF Murasame of Japan; Frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio of Philippines and Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer USS Williams P Lawrence of USA. The Group Sail was aimed to deepen the existing partnership and foster mutual understanding among participating navies.

The ships undertook various exercises en route which included formation manoeuvering, underway replenishment runs, cross-deck flying and exchange of Sea Riders. The Group Sail exercise with naval ships of Japan, Philippines and United States showcased India’s commitment to operating with like-minded nations to ensure safe maritime environment through enhanced interoperability.

IN Ships are on return passage from their successful deployment to South and East China Seas as part of the annual Eastern Fleet Over Seas Deployment during which they visited Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, Qingdao, China and Busan, South Korea. Whilst at Qingdao, both the ships had participated in the International Fleet Review (IFR) as part of the 70th Anniversary Celebration of PLA (Navy). During the ships’ stay in Busan, the IN Ships took part in the Opening Ceremony of Maritime Security (MS) Field Training Exercise (FTX) under the aegis of ADMM-PLUS.

On departing Busan, both the ships participated in ADMM-PLUS MS FTX Phase I exercises from 01 May to 03 May 19 off South Korea with Navies of Brunei, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and the USA. Group Sail progressed from 03 May to 09 May. The Phase II of ADMM-PLUS MS FTX is scheduled from 09 May to 12 May 19 in the South China Sea.

On completion of Phase II, all participating ships including IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti are scheduled to attend the closing ceremony of ADMM-PLUS MS and participate in the International Maritime Defence Expo (IMDEX) 2019 in Singapore.

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