The alleged Chinese ship, which docked off Subic Bay, is a former Japanese vessel acquired and converted into a yacht by a businessman based in the area, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Sunday.
“Upon verification by our law enforcement agencies: the Coast Guard and the PNP (Philippine National Police) maritime unit, it was found out that the vessel is actually a yacht owned by a businessman based in Subic,” Lorenzana said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The ship was seen anchored off Subic Bay early Sunday.
Further verification showed that the ship used to be the Japanese research-and-survey vessel Tankai Maru, he said.
“It has been bought and converted into a motor yacht. It caters to tourists that are already in Subic,” Lorenzana added.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator, lawyer Amy Eisma, also confirmed that the yacht is registered in Subic as the Balena II.
“She also said that she and the PCG (Philippine Coast Guard) and PNP maritime units will coordinate for better monitoring of these cruise ships/recreational marine vessels,” Lorenzana said. (PNA)