On March 26, Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier of the Philippine Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal paid a courtesy call to Admiral Luís Manuel Fragoso, Chief of the Portuguese Navy.
The courtesy call provided Ambassador Lhuillier the opportunity to express the Embassy’s appreciation to the Portuguese Navy, particularly the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCC) in Lisbon and Ponta Delgada in the Açores islands, for the vital role they play in evacuating Filipino seafarers in need of medical treatment or attention due to medical issues or accidents onboard their ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Ambassador Lhuillier likewise acknowledged the Portuguese Navy’s timely alerts to the Embassy whenever a Filipino seafarer has been airlifted to a Portuguese medical facility. This enables the Embassy to quickly respond to the situation and coordinate with the relevant shipping agent in order to ensure that the rescued Filipino seafarer’s welfare and needs are attended to while undergoing medical treatment, and for the eventual repatriation of the seafarer.
Admiral Fragoso also welcomed and expressed his support for Ambassador Lhuillier’s initiative to propose a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Maritime Search and Rescue between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Portuguese Navy. A draft of the proposed Memorandum of Understanding is currently under review by the Portuguese government.
Noting that Portugal has the 13th largest maritime zone and jurisdiction in the world, Ambassador Lhuillier believes that there is much for both sides to learn and exchange best practices in the area of maritime search and rescue and other related concerns.