NOVEMBER 2023 : THE JOURNEY

QUICK HISTORY OF THE BRP SIERRA MADRE AND AYUGIN SHOAL

Quick History

The Philippine Navy officially acquired the ship on 5 April 1976 and renamed her BRP Dumagat (AL-57). She was quickly renamed again to BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57) after the Sierra Madre mountain range. The ship continued to operate as an amphibious transport for the next decades through the 1990s.

Spratly Islands dispute

In 1999, the Philippine Navy intentionally ran her aground on the Second Thomas Shoal in order to maintain the Philippine's territorial claim in the area. Since then a detachment of Filipino marines have been continuously stationed on board Sierra Madre to provide a military presence at the site. The Chinese coast guard frequently patrols the area and attempts to prevent the resupply of these Filipino marines.

Ayugin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal)

Ayugin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal is an atoll in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea, 105 nautical miles (194 km; 121 mi) west of Palawan, Philippines.[2] Claimed by several nations but located in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines,[3] the atoll is currently militarily occupied by the Philippines.

Philippine Navy Presence

The Philippine navy maintains a presence of less than a dozen Marine personnel on the 100 m (330 ft) long Second World War US-built Philippine Navy landing craft BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57), which was deliberately run aground at the atoll in 1999. Philippine supply ships subsequently avoided Chinese blockades in order to deliver food, water and other supplies to the garrison.