3 Japanese navy minesweepers now in Manila

Three Japanese minesweepers have arrived at the Manila South Harbor for a three-day goodwill visit which started Monday. The ships, which are part of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF)’s Minesweeper Division 51, are commanded by Capt. Toshiro Takaiwa.

Cmdr. Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy public affairs office chief, said the visit of the Japanese minesweepers in Manila is part of the JMSDF’s tour in Southeast Asia. Minesweeper Division 51 is composed of JS Bungo (MST-464), JS Aishima (MSC-688) and JS Shishijima (MSC-691).

These specialized vessels are used in locating and disarming naval mines.

Philippine Navy delegates rendered customary welcome ceremony upon arrival of the visiting vessels followed by a port briefing on topics about security, safety and health with their Japanese counterparts aboard JS Bungo.

As part of their visit, Takaiwa together with the commanding officers of the three vessels, rendered a courtesy call to PN flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Caesar C. Taccad. This goodwill visit will also involve series of confidence building engagements between PN and JMSDF personnel such as soccer games and receptions that would create an avenue for cultural exchanges.

Moreover, PN personnel will also be given a chance to tour and familiarize with the Japanese ships to enhance their knowledge especially in mine countermeasures.

“The said visit is another gesture of fostering goodwill thus contributing to the furtherance of friendship between the PN and JMSDF established through the years with continuing commitment to promoting naval diplomacy and camaraderie,” Lincuna stressed.