Philippines holds joint maritime drills with China Coast Guard
The Philippine Coast Guard and the China Coast Guard have conducted joint maritime drills on search and rescue and combatting fire at sea in the vicinity waters off Manila Wednesday.

Philippines holds joint maritime drills with China Coast Guard

(Philstar.com) - January 15, 2020 - 3:48pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine and Chinese coast guards simulated a firefighting situation as part of the latter's week-long port call in Manila.

China Coast Guard Vessel 5204 arrived in Manila earlier this week to conduct joint maritime drills with the Philippine Coast Guard.

In an activity Wednesday morning, the two coast guards exercised search and rescue operations and firefighting in the waters off Manila.

The PCG said the activity allowed both parties to exercise interoperability and strengthen capabilities in responding to crises at sea.

The scenario was a vessel caught fire on its cargo hold while sailing through the waters of Manila.

The PCG received the report of the ship on fire and coordinated with the Chinese vessel to establish a hotline of communication.

The PCG then deployed multi-role response vessel (MMRV) 4401 and BRP Tubbataha, which used water cannons along with CCG 5204 to fight the fire.

To rescue the five passengers and eight Filipino crew on the distressed vessel, the coast guards deployed inflatable boats along with rescue swimmers to help the victims.

The rescued persons from the burning vessel were then transported to MMRV 4401, where they received medical assistance.

"The joint maritime drills are part of the week-long activities of CCG’s port call in Manila to strengthen understanding, mutual trust, and cooperation between PCG and CCG towards the promotion of maritime security and maritime law enforcement in the West Philippine Sea," the PCG said in a statement.

While the PCG has welcomed the CCG to the country, another Chinese ship was located going back and forth near Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines maintains its presence on Ayungin Shoal through grounded navy ship BRP Sierra Madre.

Ryan Martinson, assistant professor at China Maritime Studies Institute, described the activity of the Chinese coast guard ship as "menacing" Philippine troops stationed on the shoal.

Martinson also noted that the ship steaming back and forth on Ayungin Shoal belongs to the same unit as the CCG vessel currently on a "goodwill visit" to the Philippines.

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