MARPOLEX strengthens marine protection ties

Delegates of the Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) 2024 from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and the United States during the arrival ceremony hosted by the Philippines for Japan and Indonesian Coast Guard vessels at the Bredco port in Bacolod City Monday. (Glazyl Y. Masculino photo)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) emphasized the importance of a unified and coordinated approach through the Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) to enhance effectiveness and resilience against marine pollution challenges.

The PCG welcomed delegates from Japan, Indonesia, and guest observers from the United States, Korea, and Vietnam. The arrival of Japan’s PLH 02 TSUGARU and Indonesia’s KN TRISULA P111 vessels was marked by a ceremony at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. (Bredco) port yesterday.

This year’s MARPOLEX will be held from June 25 to 28.

Captain Weniel Azcuna, commander of the Coast Guard District Western Visayas, highlighted that the diverse and distinguished group of MARPOLEX delegates demonstrates their shared commitment to safeguarding the marine environment.

“Today marks the beginning of a significant weeklong event, where we come together as a united front to advance our collaborative efforts in marine pollution response and maritime safety,” Azcuna said.

Azcuna noted that the active participation of the Japan and Indonesia Coast Guard in this year’s exercise, hosted by the Philippines, exemplifies their strong and enduring partnership.

“Your expertise, experience, and dedication are invaluable assets that will significantly contribute to the success of this exercise,” he added.

Azcuna also acknowledged the PCG’s BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV 8301), led by its commanding officer, Captain Lawrence Roque, which arrived from Davao City to join the exercise.

“The PCG’s active participation and hosting of MARPOLEX underscores our commitment to regional maritime safety and environmental protection,” he said.

To the guest observers from the Republic of Korea, the United States, and Vietnam, and partner organizations, Azcuna expressed that their presence strongly demonstrates their commitment to regional maritime safety and environmental protection.

“We look forward to working alongside all of you in the days ahead,” Azcuna said, anticipating a fruitful collaboration and sharing of best practices to strengthen their partnerships.

“As we embark on this journey together, let us seize this opportunity to strengthen our bonds, exchange knowledge, and improve our response capabilities,” Azcuna added, expressing confidence in having valuable discussions, learning experiences, and forging stronger ties among the nations.

“Let us work together with a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, united in our mission to safeguard our maritime environments,” Azcuna said.

Indonesia Coast Guard KN TRISULA P111 commanding officer, Captain Satria Aji Yudha, expressed gratitude and appreciation to the PCG and the local government for their warm welcome.

“We are very pleased to join MARPOLEX 2024 in Bacolod, and we hope this will be successful, and we can have an improved experience and more friendship with the participants,” Yudha said.

Yudha stated that cooperation among the Coast Guard partner nations remains strong and robust.

Japan Coast Guard PLH 02 TSUGARU commanding officer, Captain Mori Naoki, shared their pleasure at arriving as scheduled after traveling from Japan on June 10.

Naoki noted that it is their third visit to the country since 2019.

“We are honored to be able to participate in this MARPOLEX to protect the beautiful sea of Sulawesi,” he added.

Exercises on June 26 will include search and rescue, firefighting, and operations on oil spill recovery, equipment recovery, and damage assessment.

The last two Regional MARPOLEX exercises were held in Makassar, Indonesia in 2022 and Davao in 2019.

MARPOLEX between the Philippines and Indonesia started in 1986, following the implementation of the Sulu-Sulawesi Oil Spill Network Plan in 1981. Japan joined the exercise in 1995.

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