PH, US to sink mock enemy ship in area relatively near Taiwan

Philippines, US plan mock enemy ship sinking near Taiwan

/ 04:22 PM March 20, 2024

The decommissioned Philippine Navy ship, which was supposed to be used as a mock target in the joint drills of American and Filipino soldiers before it ran aground in July, was already retrieved last month.

The Philippine Navy’s former BRP Lake Caliraya. Photo from the PCG

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States will sink a mock enemy ship off the coast of Laoag in Ilocos Norte, the northernmost mainland province in the country, which is relatively near Taiwan.

Col. Michael Logico, executive agent of this year’s Balikatan war games, said the coastal area in La Paz village was chosen to be the venue of the sinking exercise in May due to its strategic location.


“The west coast area in La Paz is the most suitable for an exercise of this magnitude,” Logico said in a regular press conference in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday.


“It requires a large space where we can do ground maneuvers for at least battalion-size strength, we have water, and it has easy access to the littorals,” he also said.

READ: Decommissioned Navy vessel eyed as mock target in next military exercises

Logico, however, rejected claims that the drills would be conducted there with the Taiwan scenario in mind.

“Well you can interpret it anyway you want, but we consider Ilocos Norte as a prime strategic value — that’s all I can say,” Logico said when asked if the Taiwan scenario was considered in choosing the venue.

Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island which China regards as a renegade province subject to reunification, broke away from the mainland in 1949 following its takeover by Mao Zedong’s communist forces.

READ: Intruder in Balikatan sinking exercise turns out to be local aircraft


BRP Lake Caliraya, a decommissioned Navy vessel, will be used for this year’s sinking exercise.

In July 2023, the former BRP Lake Caliraya ran aground off Bataan, but an American contractor retrieved the ship to be used for this exercise. A day before it ran aground, it was supposed to be used as a mock target for a bilateral marine exercise of Manila and Washington, but the drills were canceled then due to inclement weather.

This is the second time the maritime sinking drills were conducted.

Last year, a decommissioned Navy corvette called BRP Pangasinan sank off San Antonio town in Zambales or 235 kilometers away from Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

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The first sinking drills were successful, but the intruding local aircraft had caused a delay.

TAGS: Balikatan Exercise, Taiwan

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