By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA – The United States Embassy in Manila confirmed on Thursday that a fuel shipment is being transported from a US military facility in Hawaii to be stored in a “commercial storage facility” at Subic Bay.
US Embassy spokesperson Kanishka Gangopadhyay told reporters that the delivery was made through proper channels, using established logistics contracts with Philippine commercial entities.
“We can confirm that the Yosemite Trader, a commercial tanker, is currently in the vicinity of Subic Bay, Philippines in order to transfer clean fuel from the US military facility at Red Hill, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to a commercial storage facility at Subic Bay,” he said.
“This is one of multiple shipments of safe, clean fuel from the Red Hill facility to other locations in the Pacific,” he added.
Gangopadhyay added that this was also one of the “many regular shipments of fuel” to the Philippines, made through existing logistics contracts in the Philippines.
The embassy official, however, declined to comment about the future use of said fuel shipment.
“Unfortunately, I can’t speak to future use. I can say that we regularly ship fuel to Subic Bay and various other locations in the region,” he told the PNA.
The clarification came after Senator Imee Marcos called out the “39 million gallons of fuel” being shipped by US Navy from Pearl Harbor to Subic.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, earlier said the “inexplicable silence” of both the Philippine and US governments about the delivery raises “suspicions about the pre-positioning of military supplies in the country amid predictions of an eventual war between China and the US over Taiwan”.
The Department of National Defense (DND) also confirmed that the fuel shipment from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to Subic Bay in the Philippines is just a regular transaction.
“The shipment of fuel from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA to a storage facility in the Subic Bay Freeport in the Philippines via the commercial tanker Yosemite Trader is part of regular commercial transactions between the US government and Philippine companies,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Thursday.
No other details of the shipment are available. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)