By Martin Sadongdong
Philippine Navy (PN) ship BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) is now homeward-bound after a four-day port visit in Vietnam following its successful participation in the recent ASEAN-United States Maritime Exercise (AUMC) 2019 in Thailand.
The Del Pilar-class ocean patrol vessel docked in Ho Chi Minh City on September 7 for a goodwill visit. The visit culminated on Tuesday, September 10.
The Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) gave the Philippine Naval Task Group (NTG) 80.5 aboard the BRP Ramon Alcaraz a send-off ceremony as it sailed back home to the Philippines.
According to the Philippine Navy, it marked the third time that a PN ship has visited Vietnam.
The Navy said the goodwill visit served as an avenue to sustain and enhance the relationship between the two countries.
Further, the Navy said it will further strengthen the two countries’ understanding in areas of security and defense, economic matters, regional and international cooperation.
While in Vietnam, the NTG 80.5 led by Captain Hilarion Cesista paid a courtesy call to and had a dinner hosted by Captain Dinh Van Thang, deputy commander of the VPN.
Cesista and his party also visited Mr. Ha Phuoc Thang, Head of Office, Ho Chi Minh City People’s Commitee, and counterparts at the Vietnam Navy Technical College.
“Series of confidence building engagements between the Philippine Navy and VPN personnel were conducted such as shipboard tour, reception and friendly games,” the Philippine Navy said.
Prior to its port visit in Vietnam, BRP Alcaraz had participated in the five-day AUMX 2019 which was held from September 2 to 6 in Thailand.
The maritime drill was the first of its kind between the ASEAN member-states and the United States.
It was hosted by the US Navy and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) and participated in by Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
“The Philippine Navy had achieved its goal in this exercise. We were able to enhance our maritime operational capability to multilateral level thereby increasing our readines and interoperability while engaging our partner navies,” Cesista said.