U.S. leads multinational maritime law enforcement training in La Union

From November 20 to December 1, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), in partnership with experts from the Philippines, Malaysia, and Japan, conducted a Vessel Boarding Officer Course in San Fernando, La Union, to enhance the maritime law enforcement capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG).

The Vessel Boarding Officer Course of the USCG’s Southeast Asia Training Team (SEATT) serves as a cornerstone of effective maritime law enforcement operations by preparing personnel to safely conduct vessel boardings at sea.  Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), this is the first USCG training event held in Northern Luzon.

With the help of instructors from the USCG, PCG, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and the Japan Coast Guard, 23 members of the PCG District Northwestern Luzon, PCG District Northeastern Luzon, and PNP-MG Regional Maritime Unit took part in classes and practical exercises aboard vessels to hone their proficiency in communicating with vessel crews, managing unpredictable situations, and administering search and interview procedures.

“The professionalism displayed by PCG and PNP-MG trainees is a testament to their commitment in promoting maritime governance.  The collaboration among American, Philippine, Japanese, and Malaysian instructors exemplified our evolving regional cooperation,” USCG Team Lead Lieutenant Dana Schmitt said.

“Through the Boarding Officer Course of the USCG SEATT, Coast Guardians of the North harnessed high-standard maritime interdiction capabilities,” PCG District Northwestern Luzon Commander Ivan E. Roldan said.

In May, the USCG SEATT also conducted a similar multinational training event for Palawan-based PCG and PNP-MG personnel, which was joined by Japan Coast Guard instructors and trainees from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.  The SEATT program will continue to expand multinational training opportunities for Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies in 2024.