Unidentified Floating Objects



PH buying 2 brand-new warships

Greenpeace’s ‘Esperanza’

Greenpeace's Esperansa alongside Sasa wharf in mid-December 2012, with Mt Apo as a backdrop

Greenpeace’s Esperanza alongside Sasa wharf in mid-December 2012, with Mt Apo as a backdrop

You can follow the Esperanza’s activity all over the world via this webcam

The newly launched Samal Island Ferry, Monday 17th September 2012




A couple of months ago, a strange looking ship fitted with an array of aerials, satellite dishes and GPS receivers moored at the Davao docks for nearly a week. The ship had Chinese characters and a number 3 on the side, but nothing much else to give away its identity.

After I’d grabbed a couple of photos, intending to research it, I forgot about it.

Currently, the sister ship (no 5) is alongside the Davao dock. This ship has lettering on the funnel which assisted a websearch and provided some background. So I can now reveal that these are Yuan Wang class satellite tracking ships (Nos. 3, commissioned in 1995; and 5, commissioned in 2007). Another of the fleet caused a stir in Auckland NZ when visiting in 2005, as this NZ Herald article informs. Yuan Wang No.6 is frightening the natives of NZ again according to this May 2013 article.

Talking of low-flying satellites, the Del Monte pineapple ships are regular speedsters through the port of Davao on their way to the northern end of the Gulf to collect fruit for export. It appears that there aren’t any speed restrictions from the wake they wash through the inshore fishing boats.

The latest vessel of interest arrived in Davao this morning as I sailed across the channel on the ferry. At the time, it was fairly distant, but appeared to be a small cruise ship. When I made the return trip this afternoon, it was moored next to the Sasa ferry terminal enabling some reasonable views.

Spirit of MOL training ship

Owned and operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, more information is available here.

The ship appears far better maintained than most of the vessels sailing into Davao, but then it does have a compliment of around 200 cadets who need to be kept busy ‘chipping & painting’. I write as a veteran (from the early 80s) of the SS Opalia, a Shell tanker training ship.


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