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Coast Guard, French Navy hold drill in waters off Pangasinan

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
Coast Guard, French Navy hold drill in waters off Pangasinan
BRP Capones (MRRV-4404) and French Navy frigate FS Prairial (F731) participated in a passing exercise on Monday, March 24, 2023, to demonstrate interoperability.
Embassy of France in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard and the French Navy conducted a passing exercise off Agno, Pangasinan last Monday, the French Embassy said Friday.

A passing exercise, or PASSEX, is done by friendly vessels to practice communicating and working together when joint operations — in times of conflict or when responding to disasters — are needed.  

The PCG’s BRP Capones (MRRV-4404) and French Navy frigate FS Prairial (F731) participated in the PASSEX, conducting flashing light drills, semaphore drills, and flag hoist drills. The F731 is a Floréal-class frigate based in Papeete, the capital of the French Polynesia. 

"These joint maneuvers are an excellent way to develop inter-allied interoperability as part of France’s multilateral approach in this region," the French Embassy said. 

The Prairal is skippered by Rear Adm. Geoffroy d’Andigné and has a crew of around 100. The embassy said the 94-meter long vessel has regular missions in French exclusive economic zones, as well as in Asia.

Early last year, France and the Philippines were in discussions to conduct joint patrols in their respective EEZs to help improve interoperability as well as collaborate on humanitarian assistance and disaster response. 

READ: Philippines, France discuss possible joint patrols in EEZs

As the Manila is also in the process of modernizing its armed forces, France previously said it is also ready to help the Philippines acquire its own submarines, from getting the vessel itself to providing education and training for its personnel. 

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has accepted French President Emmanuel Macron's invitation for a state visit to France around June this year. 

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