Confiscated Gun-Running Ship Sinks in Manila Bay

2011 file image courtesy AirforceFE / wikimedia

By MarEx 2016-07-18 21:10:14

A vessel confiscated for gun-running seven years ago has partially sunk in Manila Bay, just off Roxas Boulevard. 

The Captain Ufuk has been lying at anchor in the bay for half a decade, and early on Sunday morning she took on water and went down. The cause is not yet known.

No pollution was reported and Coast Guard authorities are working on salvage plans. "The ship has to be removed because it poses a hazard to navigation, and it might be pushed towards the baywalk during a typhoon," Commander Armand Balilo told local media. That problem already happened once, when Tropical Storm Mario dragged the Ufuk towards the seawall, requiring a tow to bring her back to her anchorage.

The Bureau of Customs has been looking to sell the derelict ship for some time. Two rounds of bidding failed, and in 2014 the department was seeking a "negotiated sale" of the ship. 

The Ufuk was confiscated in 2009 when officials boarded her and found over 50 Galil assault rifles on board, allegedly purchased in Indonesia and intended for sale to a group of Philippine politicians. She had sailed into Mariveles, north of Manila, without giving notice of arrival. 

Her master, British national Capt. Bruce Jones, left the ship on a yacht before authorities arrived. The police wanted to bring him in for questioning; Jones offered to give himself up in exchange for witness protection, but he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting before he could turn himself in.