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Two Australian navy boats arrive in Zambo for joint security patrols


Two Australian navy ships have arrived in the southern port of Zamboanga City for the second round of combined maritime security patrols with the Philippine Navy's Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM).

NFWM officers led by Rear Admiral Rene Medina and local officials welcomed the delegates of Her Majesty Australian Ships (HMAS) Broome and Launceston led by Australian Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Mat Kimberley in an arrival ceremony at the Zamboanga City pier Monday, March 12, at around 9 a.m.

Speaking at the ceremony, Medina said the conduct of first joint maritime security patrols between the the Royal Australian Navy, the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi and the Joint Task Force Basilan under the NFWM area of responsibility was evaluated a successful, most especially in enhancing maritime cooperation's in addressing the issue on transnational crimes as well as terrorism.

"Again today we formally witness the arrival of these two Australian patrol boats (HMAS Broome and HMAS Launceston) with their skilled and abled crew who came a very long way purposely to engage with us and the second time around and the conduct of maritime security patrols in the other areas of Western Mindanao," said Medina.

"Your arrival only signifies that this second Philippine Navy-Royal Australian Navy combined maritime security engagement will surely be fulfilled and will come to reality. What you are about to do here is important, not only for us but also for the people of Western Mindanao," he said.

"It's a wonderful to think that the Royal Australian Navy with so many talented and dedicated individuals wholeheartedly offer the support to work with us in conducting patrol and maritime security engagement and for that we are very thankful," the Rear Admiral said.

Medina also said he is certain that both their navies shared common concerned in ensuring safer seas to the seafarers and the local community as well.

On the other hand, Medina said they're proud to announce that for more than a year the Naval Forces Western Mindanao it recorded "zero kidnapping at sea for over a year".

"There were attempts but through our efforts and cooperation with our agency they were also prevented. At this moment I can see the eagerness of our personnel to formally meet and welcome you all," Medina concluded.

For his part, Nr. Kimberly said the Australian and Philippines have benefited from the extensive joint defense cooperation program that provide mechanisms for military support, intelligence sharing, people to people exchanges between their defense forces.

"But in the wake of the Marawi conflict, our governments agree to arrange a new security measures that would enhance our military to military relationship. This new cooperation was developed in consultation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to help address the challenges pose by the Islamic State terrorism in this country and our region," the Australian diplomat added.

According to Kimberly, the Australian Army is providing ongoing operation skills training to the Philippine Army and Marine corpse in the form of naval trainings which accounts the operation in the Luzon and the Visayas.

Early this month, the Royal Australian Navy finished their training rotation here in Mindanao. "I've been placed to observe that the training and the formal skills transfer or the land naval training team activities also incorporates two exchanges of experience between our two great defense forces so that we ensure that way we inform to each other; and thus all we become more prepared for the next challenge.

"But of course, our two sides have also agreed to enhance intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance here in Mindanao through our neighbor cooperation including base bilateral maritime patrols that you will be inform undertaking shortly."

"I'm therefore very pleased to be here today for the commencement of this second round of this bilateral patrols between our Australian navy and the Philippine Navy in the western Mindanao area of operations, our joint australian ships -- HMAS Broome and HMAS Launceston," Kimberly said. -- Hader Glang

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