By: LIEUTENANT COLONEL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
Thursday, 20 August 2009
The Exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) 2009 concluded today, 20 August 2009 in General Santos City after participating assets from the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM) have completed the series of activities that began Monday, 17 August 2009 in the waters off Zamboanga. Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) and NFEM dispatched patrol gunboats, patrol ships, and Naval Special Operations (NAVSOG) teams to engage US Navy Ship Safeguard in scenarios such as the Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) and Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS). These activities focused on information exchange, coordinated surveillance operations, locating, tracking, and intercepting of enemies that allow the participating navies to employ appropriate measures in dealing with pirates and other lawless elements at sea during real-life situations.
Also dispatched was Philippine Navy Islander aircraft that conducted maritime air patrol/reconnaissance in support of the floating assets. Coast Watch Station- Zamboanga was also utilized during the exercise in monitoring the movement of USNS Safeguard, the designated target vessel during the MIO and VBSS. USNS Safeguard sets off to Singapore for the closing ceremonies tomorrow, 21 August 2009.
By undertaking the exercise, participating navies are exposed to techniques useful to combat maritime threats and fight lawless elements operating in the high seas. The exercise also enhances the navies’s cooperation and coordination in support of a cohesive response to terrorism, transnational crimes, and crimes in the high seas and contributes to ASEAN’s efforts in building peace and security in the region that has taken strong stance against terrorism and has remained vigilant in safeguarding its maritime territory from pirates, smugglers, and other criminal elements.