An anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessel of the Philippine Navy detected a United States submarine plying below the surface within the 12-mile territorial waters of the Philippines.
The protocol for submarines was for them to surface when conducting innocent passage through a country’s territorial waters. It is not known if the Philippines Navy took up the issue with the US government.
The incident happened in November last year when the Philippine Navy’s newly acquired ASW ship the’ BRP Conrado Yap’ was on a ‘show the flag’ exercise to ferret out foreign submarines. The US Submarine was passing underwater off Palawan, Navy flag officer in command Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad said during a meeting with journalists Wednesday at the Bonifacio naval station in Taguig City.
“If it is innocent passage, the submarine should surface. If they pass through (our waters) submerged, that is questionable. Why are (they) being sneaky?” a retired naval officer said in comments to the publication.
The US submarine, he said, committed a violation if it (was) submerged within the country’s 12-nautical-mile territorial waters.
“If the waters around the archipelago were drained, one may find at least 50 submarines surrounding us,” Empedrad said.
Training of Filipino helicopter pilots of ASW Wildcat helicopters, delivery of South Korean Blue Shark lightweight torpedoes, missiles will be completed in this year.
In addition, Manila is also mulling the purchase of modern Israeli boats to replace its eight patrol killer medium fleet, medium-sized naval patrol craft currently being used in maritime interdiction operations.
“President Rodrigo Duterte has approved in principle the P10-billion procurement project for the Israeli Shipyard Ltd.-manufactured Shaldag-class boats,” he said.
Once acquired, the patrol boats would be armed with nonline-of-sight missiles, which have pinpoint accuracy and a range of 25 kilometers. The boats are being eyed to defend the key sea lines of communication, including Balabac, Mindoro, Basilan and Sibutu Strait, Empedrad said.