MARPOLEX 2024 concludes with high hopes for better maritime future

SEND-OFF. Personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard wave the flags of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan during the send-off ceremony of the  Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) 2024  at the Bredco port in Bacolod City on Friday (June 28, 2024). The three countries conducted exercises on firefighting, search and rescue, and oil spill response along the Guimaras Strait on Wednesday (June 26). (Photo courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard)
SEND-OFF. Personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard wave the flags of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan during the send-off ceremony of the Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) 2024 at the Bredco port in Bacolod City on Friday (June 28, 2024). The three countries conducted exercises on firefighting, search and rescue, and oil spill response along the Guimaras Strait on Wednesday (June 26). (Photo courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard)

The Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) 2024, hosted by the Philippines, concluded after four days with high hopes of a better maritime future for Southeast Asia.

As the final activity, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) rendered a send-off ceremony for Japan Coast Guard’s PLH 02 Tsugaru and Indonesia Directorate General of Sea Transportation's (DGST) KN Trisula P.111 at the Bredco port in this city Friday morning.

Vice Admiral Rolando Punzalan Jr., PCG deputy commandant for operations, said although the MARPOLEX 2024 has ended, the work continues since “the threats of marine pollution are real and ongoing.”

“It is up to us to continue our efforts to reduce, prevent, and mitigate the impacts of pollution on our oceans. The Regional MARPOLEX 2024 is more than just a formal agreement; it is a commitment to action,” he added.

On Wednesday, the three countries conducted exercises on firefighting, search and rescue, and oil spill response along the Guimaras Strait, with observers from the Coast Guards of the United States and the Republic of Korea as well as from the National Southern Oil Spill Response Center of Vietnam, International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited of United Kingdom and Oil Spill Response Limited from Singapore.

According to the PCG, the MARPOLEX 2024 is a “new avenue for cooperation to maintain protection of the vital seas like the Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea, following the agreement with Indonesia, Philippines, and partner Japan.”

It aims to maintain a rules-based order to include maintenance of the ability to respond to oil spills and other maritime activities along the major sea lanes.

Punzalan said he hopes the bonds forged during the exercise continue to grow stronger as the participating countries work together towards a healthy ocean and flourishing environment that would result in “a brighter, cleaner, and safer maritime future for all.”

“Our ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, and mobilize resources has been truly inspiring and demonstrates our shared commitment to safeguarding our oceans for future generations,” he added.

During the closing ceremony held at Negros Residences Thursday night, Vice Admiral Roy Echeverria of PCG, Rear Admiral Jon Kenedi of Indonesia DGST, and Capt. Sase Koichi of the Japan Coast Guard, the exercise co-directors, signed the joint declaration of the termination of exercises.

In his message as the guest of honor, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson lauded what he calls the “remarkable demonstrations of skill, coordination, dedication, and collaboration among our nations.”

“To our distinguished guests from Japan and Indonesia, thank you for your unwavering commitment and for traveling great distances to be here. Your contributions have enriched this exercise, and we look forward to continued collaboration in the years ahead,” the governor said. (PNA)

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