US, Philippines carry out joint search and rescue drill

US Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) and vessels from the Philippine Coast Guard conducted joint search-and-rescue exercises at sea, west of Manila, May 14.

Illustration; USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750), left, moves in formation with the Philippine Coast Guard vessels Batangas, center, and Kalanggaman during the exercise. Photo: US Coast Guard

The Bertholf, a 418-foot National Security Cutter based in Alameda, California, trained with the Philippine Coast Guard patrol vessels BRP Batangas and BRP Kalanggaman on small boat search-and-rescue tactics during a mock rescue scenario.

After the drill, the cutter pulled in to Manila, for the first visit by a US cutter to the country in over seven years.

The crew of Bertholf will also participate in other joint events with members of the Philippine Coast Guard and Navy during the ship’s Manila port call, including a series of engagements on subjects such as damage control and search and rescue, as well as a variety of sporting and community relations events. The activities are designed to improve interoperability and strengthen the ties between the two countries.

Bertholf is currently deployed to the Indo-Pacific and under the operational control of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet.

“The US Coast Guard is proud to operate with our Pacific counterparts, and together we are dedicated to enhancing our capabilities and strengthening maritime governance and security while promoting individual sovereignty,” said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area. “This type of engagement gives us a great opportunity to share our experiences and learn from our partners in the Philippine Coast Guard.”