Interloper joins ‘Made in China’ mock enemy ship drills

Interloper joins ‘Made in China’ mock enemy ship sinking drills

/ 02:35 PM May 08, 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

LAOAG CITY, Philippines — A surprise guest joined Wednesday’s sinking exercise here where a “made in China” ship was made the target of naval missiles and airstrikes as part of Manila and Washington’s war games.

However, the marine interloper appeared to have no sinister intention, according to Lt. Col. Omad Abdullah Al Assaf, the maritime strike lead planner for this year’s Balikatan.


READ: US, PH begin striking ‘Made in China’ mock target ship near Taiwan


“There was an interloper but very far away,” Al Assaf said, adding that it was only a fishing vessel.

A no-sail zone was implemented in Laoag and nearby cities during the maritime strike, which saw former BRP Lake Caliraya—located about 15 kilometers away from the shore—being used as a mock target.

Philippine Coast Guard vessels patrolled outside the perimeter training areas to prevent interlopers from entering.

Al Assaf said the interloper was not apprehended.

“He wasn’t really apprehended. He was just made sure to go out [the designated training area],” he said of the fisherman.


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

This is the second time a maritime strike was held for Balikatan, and also the second time an interloper was recorded.

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

An aerial interloper was reported back then, but it only turned out to be from a local flight school.

TAGS: Balikatan, Philippines, US, War Games

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