No critical damage on Navy attack craft after Sulu clash

The Philippine Navy’s multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) used in intercepting an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) speedboat near Sulare Island, Parang, Sulu was not heavily damaged despite taking fire from the terrorists, an official said Wednesday. 

“There is an ongoing battle damage assessment of this vessel. The initial finding shows more or less 20 bullets received by the vessel in the recent gunfight between the ASG in the Sulu Sea. The good news is that no one was injured (among) the crew and no equipment was damaged,” Navy public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) when asked for updates on the condition of the MPAC, which was identified as BA-493.

This MPAC is assigned to the Navy’s 3rd Attack Boat Division.

“Based on the position of the bullets, only one hit below the waterline, so it means that the craft is not in critical condition,” Roxas said.

She added that the engagement off Sulare Island validates the purpose of the MPACs in “terms of naval/ maritime patrol operations, sea denial, fast-attack interdiction of hostile craft, insertion, and search-and-rescue operations.”

During Tuesday’s encounter with seven ASG members, BA-493 was escorted or screened by another MPAC, BA-491, which is armed with Rafael Advanced Defense Ltd. Spike-ER surface-to-surface missile.

The BA-491 was conducting retrieval operations for the disabled ASG speedboat.

The Navy has 12 MPACs in service capable of running speeds of 30 knots to 45 knots. 

Some of these boats are armed with automatic machine guns while the others are equipped with surface-to-surface Spike-ER missiles. PNA.GOV.PH