MV SuperFerry 14

MV SuperFerry 14 was a Philippine registered roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ferry that was attacked on February 27, 2004, by a terrorist group Abu Sayyaf that resulted in the destruction of the ferry and the deaths of 116 people in the Philippines' deadliest terrorist attack.[1][2][3] Six children less than five years old, and nine children between six and 16 years of age were among the dead or missing, including six students on a championship team sent by schools in northern Mindanao to compete in a journalism contest.[4]

MV SuperFerry 14
MV White Sanpo 2 while still in service in Japan
NameWhite Sanpo 2
  • 1981–1997: Sanpo Kaiun K.K.
  • 1997–2000: Ehime Hanshin Ferry
  • 1981–1997: Sanpo Kaiun K.K.
  • 1997–2000: Ehime Hanshin Ferry
Port of registryImabari, Japan
BuilderHayashikane Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Shimonoseki, Japan
Yard number1240
LaunchedFebruary 1981
In serviceJune 1981
Out of serviceJune 2000
IdentificationIMO number8004210
FateSold to WG&A SuperFerry
NameMV SuperFerry 14
OwnerWG&A Philippines
OperatorWG&A SuperFerry
Port of registryManila, Philippines
RouteManilaIloiloBacolod CityCagayan de Oro (2004)
Maiden voyage2000
Out of serviceFebruary 27, 2004
FateDestroyed by fire as a result of a terrorist attack by Abu Sayyaf on February 27, 2004, off the coast of Corregidor
General characteristics
Class and typeROPAX Ferry
Tonnage10,181.77 GT
Beam23.6 m
Draft5.8 m
Installed powerdual SEMT Pielstick diesel marine engines; 23,400 hp (combined)
Propulsiondual propellers
Speed24 knots (max)
Capacity1,747 passengers
SuperFerry 14 bombing
Manila Bay is located in Philippines
Manila Bay
Manila Bay
Manila Bay (Philippines)
LocationManila Bay, Philippines
DateFebruary 27, 2004 (UTC+8)
TargetMV SuperFerry 14
Attack type
PerpetratorsAbu Sayyaf


MV SuperFerry 14 was built by Hayashikane Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd. in Shimonoseki, Japan in February 1981 as the White Sanpo 2 (Japanese: ほわいとさんぽう2) for the Japanese company Sanpo Kaiun K.K. (Japanese: 三宝海運) and was transferred to Ehime Hanshin Ferry (Japanese: 愛媛阪神フェリー) in 1997. She has three passenger decks and a single car deck which was accessible by ramps at the bow and the stern a common feature of a RoPax Ferry, she has extensive passenger facilities and had a luxurious interior, and she also features twin QE2 inspired funnel and she is painted with a giant phoenix on the side of the hull. She is 155.6 meters long, 23.6 meters wide, and had a depth of 13.0 meters. She had a gross tonnage of 10,181.77. She was eventually sold to WG&A in the year 2000 where she was renamed the MV SuperFerry 14. At the time of her service in the Philippines, her interiors were opulent than what is normally found in a domestic ferry thus WG&A marketed her differently to distinguish herself from other ferries in its class.


On the night of February 27, the 10,192-ton ferry sailed out of Manila for Cagayan de Oro City via Bacolod and Iloilo City with 899 recorded passengers and crew aboard.[5] A television set containing a 3.6-kilogram (8-pound) TNT bomb had been placed on board in the lower, more-crowded decks.[4][6]

An hour after its 11 p.m. sailing, just off either El Fraile[4] or Corregidor Island[6] an explosion tore through the vessel, starting a fire that engulfed the ship.[6] Captain Ceferino Manzo issued the order to abandon ship at about 1:30 a.m.[7] As the fire spread across the vessel most of the survivors jumped into the sea or boarded rescue boats and, by February 29, officials had accounted for 565 of the 744 recorded passengers and all but two of the 155 crew members.[8]

In the days following the blast, the recovery of the dead and missing, calculated at around 180 on February 29, would be slow. Officials stated the missing may have been trapped inside the blazing ferry, have drowned in Manila Bay and that others may have been picked up by fishing boats.[8] The recovery of bodies would take several months, with only four bodies recovered by Coast Guard divers from the half-submerged ferry in the first week, despite it having been towed to shallower waters near Mariveles town, west of Manila.[5][8][9] At least another 12 bodies, some displaying blast injuries, were recovered by divers in the days up until the 7th.[5] Eventually, 63 bodies would be recovered while another 53 would remain missing, presumed dead.[6]


Despite claims from various terrorist groups, the blast was initially thought to have been an accident, caused by a gas explosion, and sabotage was ruled out initially.[5]

However, at the marine board of inquiry hearing in late March 2004, a safety supervisor with the ship's owner, WG&A, testified that about 150 survivors told him an explosion took place in the tourist section around the general area of bunk 51. The Captain of the ferry, Ceferino Manzo, testified in the same hearing that the entire tourist section was engulfed in "thick black smoke [that] smelled like gunpowder."[10] After divers righted the ferry, five months after it sank, they found evidence of a bomb blast. A man named Redondo Cain Dellosa, a Rajah Sulaiman Movement member, confessed to planting a bomb, triggered by a timing device, on board for the Abu Sayyaf group.[6] He held a ticket on the ferry for bunk 51B, where the bomb was placed, and disembarked before the ship's departure.[4]

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced on October 11, 2004, that investigators had concluded that the explosion had been caused by a bomb. She said six suspects had been arrested in connection with the bombing and that the masterminds, Khadaffy Janjalani and Abu Sulaiman, were still at large. It was believed that Abu Sayyaf bombed Superferry 14 because the company that owned it, WG&A, did not comply with a letter demanding $1 million in protection money.[11]

Arrest and deportationEdit

Ruben Omar Pestano Lavilla, Jr., a listed terrorist of U.S. State Department, and founder of Philippine terror group Rajah Sulaiman Movement, was arrested in Bahrain on July 24, 2008. Anti-Terrorism Council Chairman Eduardo Ermita announced Lavilla, the alleged mastermind of the Superferry 14 bombing, was deported from Bahrain to the Philippines on August 30. Included in the sanctioned list of the United Nations Security Council,[12][13] the RSM leader is also implicated in the February 14, 2005 bombings at Glorietta, and has pending murder case before the Makati Regional Trial Court for the bombings.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Marhsall, Andrew (November 25, 2008). "Surge in piracy raises concerns over maritime terrorism". The New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  2. ^ Thompson, Matthew (July 20, 2005). "The other war against terror ... at $8 a day". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  3. ^ Harwood, Matthew (6 June 2008). "Piracy and Terrorism Up on the High Seas, Says Study". Security Management. ASIS International. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Superferry Bombing". Human Rights Watch. February 27, 2004. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d AFP (March 7, 2004). "Divers recover body parts from ferry disaster". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e Elegant, Simon (23 August 2004). "The Return of Abu Sayyaf". Time. Archived from the original on November 11, 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  7. ^ Ramos, Marlon; Ponte, Romulo O.; Salaverria, Leila B. (February 28, 2004). "112 missing in ferry fire". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. p. 2. Retrieved December 10, 2016 – via
  8. ^ a b c The Associated Press (February 29, 2004). "Terror group says it bombed Philippines ferry; 180 missing". USA Today. Gannett Co. Inc. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  9. ^ Aravilla, Jose (March 4, 2004). Vanzi, Sol Jose (ed.). "3 DECOMPOSING BODIES FOUND IN SUPERFERRY 14". newsflash. Philippine Headline News Onilne. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Philippines to reopen ferry inquiry after terror arrests". March 30, 2004. Archived from the original on April 14, 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Bomb caused Philippine ferry fire". BBC NEWS. BBC. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  12. ^ "Philippine 2004 ferry blast suspect deported from Bahrain_English_Xinhua". Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  13. ^ "Free Services for PR :: News :: Press Releases". Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "ABS-CBN News - Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features". ABS-CBN News.