MV SuperFerry 14 was a Philippine registered roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ferry that was attacked on February 27, 2004 by 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 SuperFerry 14 as White Sanpo 2 in 1987
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
Maiden voyageJune 1981
In service1981–2000
Out of serviceJune 2000
IdentificationIMO number8004210
FateSold to WG&A SuperFerry
NameMV SuperFerry 14
OwnerWG&A Philippines
OperatorWG&A SuperFerry
Port of registryManila, Philippines
RouteManilaIloiloBacolodCagayan de Oro (2004)
Maiden voyage2000
In service2000–2004
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 had 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 had extensive passenger facilities and had a luxurious interior. She featured a twin QE2 inspired funnel. She was painted with a giant phoenix on the side of the hull.[citation needed]

She was 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 interior was more opulent than what is normally found in a domestic ferry. WG&A marketed her differently to distinguish herself from other ferries in its class.[citation needed]



On the night of February 26, the 10,192-ton ferry sailed out of Manila for Cagayan de Oro via Bacolod and Iloilo City with 899 recorded passengers and crew aboard.[5] A television set containing a 3.6-kilogram (7.9 lb) 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., February 27.[7] As the fire spread across the vessel most of the survivors jumped into the sea or boarded rescue boats. 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, was 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 took 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 were recovered while another 53 remained 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. Sabotage was initially ruled out.[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. The vessel was later raised and sold for scrap.[11]

Arrest and deportation


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 that 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 was 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 also



  1. ^ Marhsall, Andrew (November 25, 2008). "Surge in piracy raises concerns over maritime terrorism". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  2. ^ Thompson, Matthew (July 20, 2005). "The other war against terror ... at $8 a day". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  3. ^ Harwood, Matthew (6 June 2008). "Piracy and Terrorism Up on the High Seas, Says Study". Security Management. ASIS International. Archived from the original on 21 June 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Superferry Bombing". Human Rights Watch. February 27, 2004. Archived from the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d AFP (March 7, 2004). "Divers recover body parts from ferry disaster". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 3 February 2017. 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. Archived from the original on October 12, 2022. 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. Archived from the original on 2023-04-24. 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. Archived from the original on 2 September 2020. 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. Archived from the original on September 25, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  12. ^ "Philippine 2004 ferry blast suspect deported from Bahrain". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  13. ^ "Free Services for PR :: News :: Press Releases". Archived from the original on February 17, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "ABS-CBN News - Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features". ABS-CBN News. Archived from the original on 2018-04-28. Retrieved 2018-04-16.