According to a press release by the US Embassy in Manila on July 1, the US Navy’s littoral combat ship USS Coronado joined a Philippine Navy frigate, BRP Alcaraz, in patrolling the Sulu Sea where numerous pirate attacks on commercial shipping have occurred since 2015.
“These patrols enhance regional peace and stability,” said Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, Commander, Task Force 73. “Our at-sea operations with the Philippine Navy demonstrate our commitment to the alliance and deter piracy and illegal activities”.
Two weeks ago, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia also conducted a joint naval patrol on the south Philippine waters.
There are international fears that fighters sympathetic to the self-proclaimed Islamic State will cross maritime borders between Malaysia and Indonesia to join Muslim rebels who seized Marawi city in the southern Philippines in late May.
About 300 militants, 82 security forces and 44 civilians have been killed in the fighting.