Japanese ship arrives in Manila for 3-day goodwill visit

MANILAJS Akebono (DD-108), a Murasame-class destroyer of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), arrived at Pier 15 of Manila South Harbor Thursday for a three-day port visit.

Around 200 officers and enlisted personnel are aboard JS Akebono which also carries two SH-60K patrol helicopters.

PN spokesperson, Commander Jonathan Zata, said the Japanese contingent led by JMSDF Escort Division 5 head Capt. Josuke Nakamura was welcomed by Offshore Combat Force deputy commander Capt. Francisco Laput.

Nakamura is also set to pay a courtesy call on PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad.

Also, confidence building engagements between PN and JMSDF personnel such as shipboard tour and goodwill games of basketball, volleyball and soccer are scheduled.

Prior to its arrival, JS Akebono had just completed its five-month tour as part of the Combined Maritime Task Force 151's anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

The task force is mandated to deter and disrupt piracy and armed robbery in the maritime environment, particularly in the Somali Basin and Southern Red Sea.

Zata noted that JS Akebono is the same ship that responded to a distress call from a Singaporean-flagged tanker where one Filipino crewman fell and injured his head while transiting the Gulf of Aden.

The destroyer's medical team provided first-aid and airlifted the injured Filipino seafarer to Djibouti for further medical treatment. JS Akebono's arrival marks the sixth visit of the JMSDF to the Philippines.

The most recent was the arrival of the three-ship Escort Flotilla Four early this September at Alava Wharf, SBMA, Olongapo City, Zambales.

"This visit translates to another gesture of fostering goodwill that contributes to the furtherance of friendship between the PN and the JSMDF established through the years. It further promotes and sustains peace and stability in the region," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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