TO HONE their skills in conducting search and apprehending vessels that carry contraband, the country’s Navy and the United States (US) Navy conducted a simulation exercise on visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) in the Bohol Sea yesterday.
An eight-man team from the US Navy boarded the BRP Batak (LC 299) of the Philippine Navy and showed their counterparts how to do the exercise.
The exercise was part of the week-long military training activity (MTA) Samasama of the two navies held in Cebu.
LC 299 played the role of a commercial vessel suspected to have illegal items inside. Government troopers were expected to search and apprehend people.
The US Navy team boarded a rigid hull inflatable boat dispatched from the mother ship and made their way to the subject vessel.
The group conducted a search on the crew members, verified their documents and checked the cargoes as part of the drill.
US Navy littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) and Philippine Navy del Pilar Class Frigate BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) were also deployed yesterday for the practical demonstration.
While doing the practical demonstration, the Philippine Navy dispatched its AW109 helicopter in the area of the exercise to observe.
The scenario will sometimes happens when a ship refuses to communicate with government vessels like the ones operated by the Philippine Navy, said Lt. Commander Michael Volante, executive officer of LC 299.
Volante said the exercise is very important to them, considering that they are tasked to secure the maritime domain of the country.
“The exercise was good and the objectives were attained. We’ve learned how to correctly conduct the VBSS for those non-compliant ships,” he told reporters after the exercise.
The Philippine Navy delegation also learned how to deal with resistance from the crew of the ship.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on June 24, 2017.
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