Philippine Navy (Source: cimsec.org)
 
Hanoi (VNA) - The Philippine Navy said on July 16 that it and the Royal Australian Navy has started 10-day joint exercises in the Sulu Sea to deal with threats of kidnapping and terrorism.

Cheryl Tindog, spokesperson of the Western Command of the Philippine Navy, said in a statement that the exercises, which will end on July 25, aim to enhance training, interoperability and cooperation between the two navies in coping with terrorism and kidnapping activities in the region.

The drills take place in the waters off Coron island, northern Palawan, and off Balabac island in the south of Palawan.

Activities in the coming days will include interoperability exercises on naval communication system, plan making, individual shipboard training, maritime surveillance and search and rescue, Tindog said.

Around 200 naval soldiers, including 100 Australians, joined the exercises. Australian navy vessels HMAS Ararat and HMAS Wollonggong, and Philippine Navy ships BRP Simeon Castro (PC 374), BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF 16) are the assets used for the joint drills.

In November 2017, the Philippine and Australian navies conducted a 22-day joint exercise in the waters off Mindanao in southern Philippines.

In recent years, terrorist attacks and kidnappings have increased in the Sulu Sea, located in the southwest of the Philippines, forcing many countries to increase forces to protect this sea.

In May 2001, the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines launched an attack on a small island in the Sulu Sea, capturing 20 tourists. In June 2006, this group also arrested seven Indonesian sailors in the waters as hostages.-VNA