JAPANESE SHIP, CHOPPER, TO PATROL SEAS VS. PIRATES  

Manila, Feb. 27, 2003 -- The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) plans to dispatch a patrol ship with a helicopter on board to the Philippines as part of measures to prevent hijackings by pirate ships in Asian waters, JCG officials said Tuesday.

The Ryukyu patrol ship, belonging to the Naha branch of the JCG, will leave the port of Naha on Thursday, the officials said.

Joint drills will be held with the Philippine coastal police on the premise that a Japanese ship has been hijacked, they said.

JCG officials will attend a meeting of experts from 17 Asian countries and regions to be held in Manila to discuss prevention of hijackings at sea.

The JCG has been sending patrol vessels and aircraft to Southeast Asian countries since 2000 to deal with the increasing number of hijackings in Asian waters.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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