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US, partner navies sail together in South China Sea

A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer joined ships from the Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Republic of Philippine Navy to sail through the South China Sea, May 2-8.

The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence, center, transits international waters of the South China Sea with the Indian navy destroyer INS Kolkata and tanker INS Shakti; the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter carrier JS Izumo and destroyer JS Murasame and the Republic of the Philippines navy patrol ship BRP Andres Bonifacio Photo courtesy of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

Transiting through international waters were the USS William P. Lawrence, Indian Navy destroyer INS Kolkata and tanker INS Shakti, JMSDF helicopter-carrier JS Izumo and destroyer JS Murasame and Philippine Navy patrol ship BRP Andres Bonifacio.

“Our team was really excited to take part in this multi-lateral event,” Cmdr. Andrew J. Klug, commanding officer, USS William P. Lawrence, said. “Professional engagements with our allies, partners and friends in the region are opportunities to build upon our existing, strong relationships, as well as learn from each other.”

The ships conducted formation exercises, communication drills, passenger transfers and held a leadership exchange aboard the JS Izumo.

“The opportunity of a multi-sail with U.S. Navy and regional partners was a great experience. In addition to building mutual understanding and trust, it also served as a way to enhance peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Rear Adm. Hiroshi Egawa, commander, Escort Flotilla 1 said. “The ability to do various exercises among four different navies smoothly demonstrated professionalism and high operational skills."