The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) intends to strengthen ties with the Vietnamese Coast Guard by inviting them to join for the first time the trilateral marine pollution exercise (Marpolex) in June.

PCG spokesman Rear Admiral Armand Balilo told The STAR that the five-day Marpolex will be held in Bacolod, Negros Occidental during the third week of June. The PCG and the Indonesian and Japanese coast guards will participate.

The US and Korean coast guards would also be invited to either participate or observe, Balilo added.

'The instruction of PCG Commandant Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan is to make it a regional maritime pollution exercise. It is not necessary for other countries to bring their ships, their participation could be as an observer to the exercise,' he noted.

Five Philippine vessels will participate in the exercise while Indonesia will send two ships and Japan will send one.

The invitation to Vietnam follows President Marcos' recent state visit to Hanoi last Jan. 29 to 31, in which the two countries signed an agreement to establish a hotline between their coast guards amid South China Sea tensions.

Marpolex is an oil spill response integrated exercise held every two years since 1986. The Philippines and Indonesia initially conducted the exercise following the implementation of the Sulu Sulawesi Oil Spill Network Plan 1981. Japan joined in 1995.

On Feb. 28, 2023, an oil spill occurred in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro after the sinking of MT Princess Empress, which carried 800,000 liters of industrial fuel.

The oil spill spread to Batangas and reached the waters of Palawan and Antique. It also affected the Verde Island Passage, dubbed the 'center of the center of marine shorefish biodiversity.'


Copyright © 2022 PhilSTAR Daily, Inc Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (