The 11th multilateral, humanitarian and disaster response exercise, Pacific Partnership 2016 (PP16), has started in Da Nang City, Vietnam.

The US Navy’s hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), the Japanese Navy ship JSDS Shimokita (LST-4002), and the Vietnam People's Navy ship Khanh Hoa are participating in the exercise.

The two-week long exercise has been designed to bolster defence ties between the US and Vietnam, and seeks to improve humanitarian cooperation and friendship exchange.

"The scope of the mission is slightly different from previous years' missions."

Vietnam mission American officer in charge lieutenant commander Jason Dao said: "The scope of the mission is slightly different from previous years' missions.

“While PP16 retains the traditional humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HA/DR), medical, engineering and community relation projects, this year's mission includes a Japanese ship the Shimokita and the Vietnam People's Navy's Khanh Hoa."

The event will also witness participation of partnering nations, namely Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Palau, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Timor Leste, and the UK.

Personnel from PP16 and Vietnam will conduct a seven day humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) workshop, which will be concluded with a crisis management drill.

The drill will feature activities related to disaster preparedness, national and regional response, coastal medicine and maritime search and rescue.

Pacific Partnership 16 will also be conducted in Malaysia and Indonesia after it concludes in Vietnam.

Image: MH-60S sea hawk helicopter approaches the flight deck of hospital ship USNS Mercy. Photo: courtesy of US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brittney Vella/Released.