US Navy ship stuck on coral reef in Philippines

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The USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper, after running aground off Tubbataha Reef, a World Heritage Site in the Sulu Sea, 640 kilometers southwest of Manila in this January 17 photo released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command. AP/AFP WESCOM

MANILA, Philippines—A U.S. Navy minesweeper was stuck on a coral reef in the Philippines for a second day Friday, as the crew struggled to extract the ship and Philippine authorities tried to evaluate damage to a protected marine park.

The Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement that the crew of the USS Guardian was working to find out the best method of safely extracting the ship. Winds and waves were stronger Friday and may make it more difficult to free the ship, Philippine officials said.

It had just completed a port call in Subic Bay, a former American naval base west of the Philippine capital, when it hit the reef Thursday in the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a World Heritage Site in the Sulu Sea, 640 kilometers (400 miles) southwest of Manila.

The ship was not listing or leaking oil but its bow struck the reef, said Angelique Songco, head of the government’s Protected Area Management Board, after flying over the ship in a Philippine Air Force plane. “(The ship) does not appear to be damaged.”

She said it was unclear how much of the reef was damaged. She said the government imposes a fine of about $300 per square meter (yard) of damaged coral.

In 2005, the environmental group Greenpeace was fined almost $7,000 after its flagship struck a reef in the same area.

The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines said in a statement that according to an initial ocular inspection, the 68-meter (74-yard) long, 1,300-ton Guardian damaged at least 10 meters (yards) of the reef.

Songco said that park rangers were not allowed to board the ship for inspection and were told to contact the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Their radio calls to the ship were ignored, she said.

The Tubbataha Reef is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the Coral Triangle, the world’s cradle of marine life. It is off-limits to fishing and the collection of corals, wildlife and any marine life is prohibited. In 1992, UNESCO designated the reef as a World Heritage Site.

U.S. Navy ships have stepped up visits to Philippine ports for refuelling, rest and recreation, and joint military exercises as a result of a redeployment of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region. The Philippines, a U.S. defense treaty ally, has been entangled in a territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mackey-Grande/100002093282951 Mackey Grande

    ang US ship pag sumadsad ay aalis din…Ang Chinks ship pag sumadsaad hindi na aalis yan at permanent na…hahaha

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/J6ZIP2ZW3T6ZFRJCRBAJNXLIFY Sabian

    Hmmm. US ship with the most technologically advanced navigation system gets stuck in a protected reef near the disputed territory… parang gusto talagang tumigil sa lugar e. 

  • Meow Ming

     Nagandahan sa lugar, sigurado nag-dive sila doon.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    barko ng america pag sumadsad aalis din pag barko ng insik sumadsad mag tatayo na ng bahay at millitary garizon kaya nga mag ingat sa insekto lahat ng makita nila kukunin hahaha

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    AMERICA IS A POLICE OF THE WORD SANA MAKA TOUR AKO SA AIRCRAFT CARRIER!!

  • 100% freedom of navigation

    The damage on the corals or other marine life that was caused by the US ship is nothing if you compare it to the extensive environmental damage on our corals being caused by those who are extracting and stealing them.

    • NEILMCNALLY

      Yep..i know only of massive intentional poisoning and dynamiting by many persons which have annihilated hundreds of hectares of once beautiful pristine coral reefs..probably local pilipinos who didn’t think to address what their actions were likely to cause…!

  • goldilock

     Starting Monday morning, tubbataha will have rough seas. Stormy weather on Tuesday and the rest of the week.

    Mindanao and Visayas will experience stormy weather on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 1/21-23/2013..  Typhoon 80 percent. Grounded and rough seas will crack the hull of that ship.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NYKIOQEDTUD4FPPPVHP6XMFNEA Raul

    Illegal dumping of chemical waste has become a widespread problem in China, with a chain of middlemen profiteering from it. This has worsened the already precarious environmental situation in China.
    In December 2011, residents of Fengqiao Village in Haozhou City, Anhui Province smelled a pungent odor. The villagers searched all over and eventually found over 70 barrels of liquid chemical waste buried near a stream, which is regularly used by villagers for irrigation.
    According to the state-run People’s Daily, the local environmental protection office analyzed it and found several toxic chemical components, including 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and acetyl benzene. If humans come into contact with this chemical mix, it results in serious health damage.

  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    ito ang resulta ng trabaho ng mga collaborators
    1. sa dfa tulad ni usec basilio
    2. sa dnd tulad ni usec batino

    kompiskahin na yang barko na yan
    tulad sa mga intsik switik fishermen

    ng may magamit
    pang depensa sa mga intsik switik
    courtesy of imperialist u.s.

    another imperialist psywar operation
    to break down pilipino resistance
    to recolonization

    DEMOLISH VFA
    PALAYASIN MGA IMPERYALISTA

    mapapahamak tayo
    sa kabobohan ng u.s. navy

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