Photo: Four navies converge in South China Sea

Five ships from Australia, Japan, Canada and the U.S. met in the South China Sea on June 8 for two days of maneuvers and exercises.

The exercise included JMSDF destroyers Izumo and Sazanami, RCN frigate HMCS Winnipeg, Australian frigate Ballarat and US destroyer Sterett.

During the exercise, the ships completed in-company ship manoeuvres, helicopter operations, personnel exchanges, gunnery exercises and air defense training.

Australian Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said the PASSEX enhanced interoperability between key regional defense partners.

“These maritime exercises build on other Australian Defence Force activities with Canada, Japan and the United States and develop interoperability across a wide spectrum of military operations, which enhances stability and security in the region.

During the course of its South East Asia deployment, HMAS Ballarat has undertaken engagement activities with Canada, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.

HMAS Ballarat will conduct further exercises with nations in the region during its deployment to South East Asia.