30 March 2014

Looters may have first discovered shipwreck

Subic Bay’s diving community is aghast over what they claim is rampant looting in one of the unidentified and recently found shipwreck near the Grande Island.

The newly found shipwreck, some 200 meters from Grande Island’s shorelines, was being identified, measured and verified by the National Museum of the Philippines yesterday to confirm whether or not it is the sister vessel of Spanish Galleon San Quentin.

Five people from the town of Morong, Bataan were held this week PNP Maritime police on suspicion that they were looting the new found shipwreck but were later released due to lack of evidence.

The police filed charges against Manuel Casapao, Danilo Casapao, Michael Eduarte, Junel Rivera, and Armando Salazar for looting at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Balanga City on Tuesday.

The police found equipment from the dive site such as compressors, hoses, barrels, and a diesel engine.

Meanwhile, divers from the National Museum of the Philippines gathered information of the newfound shipwreck and will file their report to the Ecology Department of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

According to Subic Bay Divers Association president Scott Sharpe, the find might be the oldest sunken shipwreck in Subic Bay.

He added that some divers discovered the looting on March 19, after they found looting equipment near the area.

There are more than 10 dive sites in Subic Bay that have mesmerized many scuba divers in the country. Shipwrecks such as Oryoku Maru, Seiun Maru, USS New York and El Capitan are some of the famous dive sites here. (Jonas Reyes, Manila Bulletin)