US warship, three Japanese minesweepers in Manila

Three Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) vessels and one United States Navy vessel are currently in South Harbor, Manila for three-day goodwill visit in Philippines. The US Navy vessel, USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) arrived September 6, while the Japanese vessels, JS Bungo (MST 464), JS Aishima (MSC 688) and JS Shishijima (MSC 691) arrived September 7.

The three Japanese vessels are minesweepers part of JMSDF Minesweeper Division 51 commanded by Captain Toshiro Takaiwa. These specialized vessels are used in locating and disarming naval mines. This goodwill visit also involves series of confidence building engagements between Philippine Navy and JMSDF personnel such as soccer games and receptions that would create an avenue for cultural exchanges.

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

Meanwhile, the US Navy vessel, USS Paul Hamilton is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 21 and is home ported in Hawaii within the US 3rd Fleet area of operations.

“Just like any other visit of foreign navies, this activity offers a platform for knowledge, skills and cultural exchanges. It also further strengthens the long-time friendship and camaraderie shared by the US Navy personnel and their Filipino counterparts,” the Philippine Navy said.