Viet Nam News
ĐÀ NẴNG — US hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), a Japanese Navy ship of the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force, JSDS Shimokita (LST-4002), and the Việt Nam People’s Navy ship Khánh Hòa docked at Đà Nẵng’s Tiên Sa Port to begin Pacific Partnership 2016 (PP16).
This is the seventh time in 11 years that this event has taken place in Việt Nam, and the third consecutive year in Đà Nẵng.
Participating in this year’s events are partner nations such as Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Palau, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Timor Leste, the United Kingdom, the US and Việt Nam, with the purpose of improving disaster preparedness and regional responsiveness.
Commander of PP16 Colonel Tom Williams said it’s the first time that more ships from Japan and Việt Nam have joined the event, and the Pacific Partnership has helped enhance exchanges in natural disaster rescue and medical activities.
As scheduled, the programme will be held between July 15-28, with the aim of meeting the needs of Việt Nam and the city, and enhancing humanitarian co-operation and friendship exchanges that contribute to promoting US-Việt Nam national defence co-operation.
PP16 personnel will work side-by-side with Vietnamese civilian medical officers to participate in civil engineering projects, exchange expertise with military medical staff on the Khánh Hòa ship and join community projects.
The US and Japanese PP16 soccer teams will compete in Đà Nẵng’s Foreigners Football Cup during the event.
Lieutenant Commander Jason Dao, the American officer in charge of the Việt Nam mission, anticipates that this year’s multi-national programme will augment previous years’ collaboration and training opportunities.
In a continuation of the crisis management and response activities from PP15, PP16 personnel and those from Việt Nam’s side will conduct a seven-day humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) workshop that will culminate in a crisis management drill.
The drill covers disaster preparedness, national and regional response, coastal medicine and maritime search and rescue. In addition, Vietnamese partners, together with the US Navy and Marines, will complete renovations at some primary schools and kindergartens in the city.
The US Pacific Fleet Band will perform at stages on Bạch Đằng Street and East Sea Park, and PP16 personnel will provide lifeguard training and English conversational skills to members of Đà Nẵng’s community.
US Ambassador to Việt Nam Ted Osius commented: “PP16 serves as a concrete example of the mutually beneficial activities President Obama discussed in his May visit to Việt Nam. PP16 builds trust and evidences the US commitment to Việt Nam and the region.”
Pacific Partnership 16 will continue to Malaysia and Indonesia after Việt Nam.
A farewell ceremony of PP16 will take place at Đà Nẵng’s Tiên Sa port on July 28. — VNS