Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sunken ship becomes prey to looting

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Several artifacts and accessories of the USS New York, a World War I vintage American battle cruiser that sunk in the waters of Subic Bay in 1941, have been stolen, according to a dive instructor here.

The wreck of the 19th century ship, which is among the most popular diving attractions here, has been losing its parts to looters, said Butch Horario, an open water diving instructor of the Subic Bay Aqua Sports Inc.

Horario discovered the looting after he and four foreign divers on June 13 conducted a recreational dive at the wreck site.

The site, at 27.43 m. (90 ft) below the bay's surface, is located between the Alava Pier and the northern tip of the Cubi Point runway.

"During the dive we noticed that some artifacts and other accessories were missing, such as several pipes in different sizes, cables of different diameters and dimensions and port hole," Horario said.

He said they found a hose and a hacksaw that they believed were left by looters at the site.

Horario, a dive master here since 1995, said it was not the first time that shipwrecks were looted, citing more than five incidents in recent years.

"There were several cases in the past in which important pieces of artifacts were stolen from the other shipwrecks," he said.

The looting, he said, usually happen at night.

He said "small time" looters have been persisting because no suspect had been identified or charged in previous incidents.

Horario has referred the incident to the Law Enforcement Department of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for investigation.

He said his group is willing to guide authorities in checking the wreck site.

The USS New York, which was commissioned on Aug. 1, 1893 in Philadelphia, was scuttled by the US Navy during World War II to keep its main guns from falling into the hands of Japanese troops.

Allan Macatuno, PDI Central Luzon Desk


  • Sunken Ship Scavengers. . .

    I note with alarm the recent publicity concerning removal of artifacts from sunken ships in Subic Bay and call on authorities to tighten-up regulations that govern Dive Operators within the area. . .

    Removal of such artifacts will destroy the country's history reducing tourist attractions within the Bay.

    Surely all dive operator's should forget personal disagreements or
    professional jealousy and strive to maintain their livelihood within the bay area, maybe by forming their own industry police body.

    By Anonymous Peter Sharpe, at 6/26/2005 8:58 PM  

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