14 January 2013

US vessel arrives in Subic for port call

The United States Embassy in Manila said that another one of its navy ships, USS Guardian, arrived on Sunday for a routine fuel stop.

In a statement, the embassy said that the USS Guardian, a US Navy Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship, arrived in Subic Bay.

“This visit will allow the ship to replenish supplies as well as give the crew an opportunity for rest and relaxation,” the embassy said.

After an overnight visit in Subic, the ship will proceed to Puerto Princesa City in Palawan “for another brief visit.”

The USS Guardian is assigned to the US Navy’s seventh fleet and is forward deployed to Sasebo in Japan.

The vessel’s crew of some 80 officers and enlisted personnel includes eight Filipino Americans.

Notably, the ship’s highest-ranking enlisted sailor on board is a Filipino-American originally from Olongapo City.

Vessels of the US Navy have made over a dozen port calls to the Philippines since 2012.

Reports have indicated that the unusual number of port calls by the United States to the Philippines was influenced largely by the Obama administration’s Pacific Rim repivot.

The repivot is the United States refocus on the Asia-Pacific region after it has been preoccupied on its war against terrorism campaign in the Middle East for over a decade.

This strategy comes amid China’s increasingly enormous political, economic and military power in the region.

China and the Philippines are currently embroiled in territorial disputes over the resource-rich West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) islands. (Bernice Camille V. Bauzon, The Manila Times)