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UK’s Royal Navy ship HMS Spey returns to Phl

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UK’s Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel, HMS Spey, has made her first visit of 2024 to the Philippines. During the port call in Manila Bay, Royal Navy officers from HMS Spey joined a range of professional and social interactions with the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard and local community, including a friendly game of football.  

Welcoming key personnel from HQ Armed Forces of the Philippines on board the Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel, the British Embassy Embassy and UK Defence and Security Exports discussed ‘Re-Horizon 3’ defence modernisation and interoperability as part of the UK Defence Trade Company Mission to Manila from February 26-28, 2024. This Mission is showcasing the wares of 13 premier UK companies in the defence sector, including BAe Systems, Thales and Leonardo.  

Welcoming the visit, British Ambassador Laure Beaufils, said, “The third visit of a Royal Navy ship to the Philippines in the past 18 months is a clear demonstration of our strengthening defence relationship. We deeply value cooperation and growing interoperability with the Philippines on maritime issues. This supports security and our shared commitment to upholding the rules-based international system, as well as of trade and environmental protection. The football match organised between the two Navies embodies our mutual commitment to building strong cultural partnerships and shared values, whether on the pitch or at sea.”   

The football match was held at the Philippine Marine Corps Barracks in Fort Bonifacio with players from the Philippines Navy taking on Royal Navy participants from HMS Spey. The games were facilitated by 10 football coaches from Football for Humanity, a UK-based sport for development charity that uses football-focused interventions to tackle complex social issues.  

In addition, HMS Spey hosted tours for Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard personnel, including the officers who had recently graduated from maritime planning course delivered by the Royal Navy in Manila 5 – 8 Feb 24 as part of the UK’s Defence engagement strategy.   

The Commanding Officer of HMS SPEY, Commander Paul Caddy said, “It is excellent to visit Manila and improve our ability to work together with colleagues from the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard. This is part of an increasing level of engagement. With SPEY recently taking part in the multinational Exercise SAMA SAMA for the second time, it is clear that the relationship is only going to grow. The UK and Philippines firmly believe in, and promote the Rules Based International System; we share an interest in upholding international maritime law and supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific.” 

The Commanding Officer of HMS Spey met with Rear Admiral Cornelio of the Philippine Coast Guard to discuss future cooperation. After departing from Manila, HMS Spey conducted a Passage at Sea Exercise, known as a PASSEX, with Philippine Navy ship BNP VALENTIN DIAZ and an AW159 helicopter.  

The ship visit follows two recent training delegations from the British Armed Forces. The British Army sent 20 Regular and Reservist military communications personnel and intelligence analysts to Manila to mentor cyber specialists from the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the first time on Exercise DEFENCE CYBER MARVEL, a global war game which took place 10-18 Feb 2024. The Exercise took international teams from Europe and the Indo-Pacific through their paces on a theoretical hacking attack against national infrastructure.  

On February 5-8, 2024, the British Royal Navy International Maritime Training Team delivered an Integrated Maritime Mission Planning Course (IMMP) at the HQ Philippine Coast Guard. Attendees comprised 15 officers from the Philippine Navy and 15 from the Philippine Coast Guard. Students were taught a planning process to equip them to address threats and challenges whilst manoeuvring at sea, such as during conduct of humanitarian and disaster relief operations, and area reconnaissance. The course was also an ideal mechanism to build interoperability between maritime organisations and navies, and to further deepen the defence partnership between the UK and Philippines, both proud maritime nations.  

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