A decommissioned Navy Ship of the Philippines Navy, BRP Lake Calirya (AF-81), ran aground close to the shore of Sitio Crossing, Morong, near Bataan at 8:00 am on Friday, per the Philippine Coast Guard.
The vessel was to be used as a mock enemy target against a team of marines from the Philippines and the U.S. in a joint ship-sinking exercise which was scheduled to be held this week during the semi-annual Marine Aviation Support Activity 2023.
The vessel was being towed to Subic, Zambales, for the maritime strike exercise when the incident occurred. The vessel’s tug lines snapped because of strong waves as there was turbulent weather that day, accompanied by strong winds that caused the vessel to drift.
The coast guard is conducting a rescue for three crew onboard the motor tanker that had no stored fuel.
The BRP Lake Calirya was decommissioned in 2020. It was the Navy’s 1st motor tanker acquired from the Philippine National Oil Company.
The maritime exercise aims to perform live fire maneuvres where the combined forces of the marines from the Philippines and the U.S. would sink the decommissioned vessel.
The exercise was to take place 10-12 nm west of the Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqi Beach on 14 July.
Marine Corps Public Affairs Office director, Capt. Jarald Rea said 2023’s MASA focuses on aligned procedures, tactics, and communications among marines, navy, and air forces.
“A semi-annual activity of the Philippine and U.S. military, MASA 2023 hopes to further improve interoperability, allowing both forces to operate seamlessly and effectively in joint operations,” he added.
This event is the 2nd sinking exercise conducted jointly by the Philippines and the U.S. this year. The first was held in April when a P.N. Corvette, earlier known as BRP Pangasinan, was sunk off the Zambales coast after being used as a mock target by Filipino and American naval forces during the Balikatan Exercises.
References: newsinfo, tribune
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