Philippine Red Cross buying vessel previously examined by Navy

The vessel, reported to be previously examined by Philippine Navy officials, catamaran-type military vessel prototype M/V Susitna owned by Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska was approved to be sold to Philippine Red Cross.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Manager John Moosey got the approval to sell from the Matanuska-Susitna Assembly last September 1, the Matanuska-Susitna government said in a statement.

“I’m elated that this ship will be put to the noble work of saving lives after disasters in the Phillipines. We exhausted our options on disposing of this vessel. It’s time to give it new life, and release our taxpayers from the burden of its upkeep,” Borough Manager Moosey said.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough will receive $1,750,000 and $60,000 for upkeep costs during repair. The Susitna was built as a smaller scale prototype for the U.S. Navy, which funded most of the construction costs for the $80 million vessel.

“The Susitna Ferry will be plying the Philippine Sea delivering food and supplies to island shores and serving as a floating hospital after hurricanes,” Mat-Su government said.

Mat-Su government said because the Susitna was a military prototype, the Borough must get written consent of federal agencies before the sale to a foreign entity. The Borough has been working for the past nine months on the approval.

Chairman of Philippine Red Cross Richard Gordon said “there is an average of 170 maritime accidents in the country every year, mostly in the Visayas area. The ship will be used to provide disaster relief and emergency services. It will also provide search and rescue services after maritime disasters. The Susitna will serve as a mobile clinic/hospital ship serving some of the most isolated of the 7,107 Philippine Islands.”