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US rockets fished out of Cagayan waters

The U.S.-made rockets and wooden crates have been turned over to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for investigation and proper disposition.

A GROUP of fishermen on Wednesday noon found 24 empty crates and at least 90 United States rockets floating in the seawaters of Claveria, Cagayan, Philippine National Police chief, General Debold M. Sinas said yesterday.

According to the top cop, the fishermen identified as Amado Pacpaco,44; Wilson Corpuz,37; and Abraham Bagauisan,40, all residents of Barangay Taggat Norte, Claveria, retrieved the 24 crates loaded with the U.S.-manufactured rockets and an empty steel box while fishing on the waters of Blue Lagoon in their area 12 noon Wednesday.

Sinas said the fishermen later approached patrolling members of the Regional Maritime Unit 2 along the shorelines of Bgy. Taggat Norte and turned over the weapons.

An inventory showed that the 24 wooden crates and a steel crate containing 90 rockets believed to have been dropped by U.S. warships passing along the Pacific Ocean near the Philippine territorial waters.

Gen. Sinas said that RMU2 officers led by Lieutenant Wilford Cipriano brought the military armaments to their headquarters in Claveria where they contacted the Explosives and Ordnance Division of the Police Regional Office 2 to conduct an inventory and oversee the proper disposition of the rockets.

An inspection and technical analysis of the recovered 24 wooden boxes and canisters showed they were negative for any explosive or hazardous materials.

Seventeen of the boxes were marked ‘inert/demo practice warhead 2.75 inch rocket while the seven were described as High Explosives and Composition B Explosives. The metal case was marked 20mm cartridge.

The recovered empty boxes were already partially decaying and their locks and hingers were all rusty with the presence of barnacles.

Based on the code found on the warheads, the country of origin is the U.S. The recovered black cylindrical canister appeared to be a container for a 2.75″ warhead which could have been used in previous U.S.-Philippines’ Balikatan Exercises’ which required the use of practice munitions like the 2.75” warheads.

The seven black canisters turned out to be containers for High Explosives being used in combat operations.

Following the incident, the PNP said it will contact their U.S. counterparts to determine if they have conducted military exercises in the waters of Claveria.