Quantcast
Latest Stories

1,000 sq m of coral reef destroyed by US Navy ship

By ,

REEFS ON THE ROCKS A diver observes a sleeping shark on a ledge at the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Made up of two atolls, Tubbataha’s vertiginous walls are home to 12 species of sharks. Overfished because of the sharks’ valuable fins, Tubbataha offers one of the last guaranteed shark dives in the world. Although protected year-round by armed rangers who are stationed in two-month shifts, the reefs were defenseless against the rude intrusion of a US minesweeper three days ago when it ran aground in the Unesco-named World Heritage Site. YVETTE LEE/CONTRIBUTOR

The USS Guardian has damaged “more or less 1,000 square meters” of the Tubbataha Reefs in the Sulu Sea, the spokesperson of the Philippine Coast Guard told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Contacted by phone, Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo on Wednesday said the government task force coordinating with the US Navy regarding salvage efforts on the grounded US Navy minesweeper learned about the extent of the damage from PCG divers who checked out the reefs on Tuesday.

“Two Coast Guard teams, composed of 14 divers in two rubber boats, were involved in the operation,” said Balilo.

At least 50 PCG personnel, including the crew of the search-and-rescue vessel BRP Corregidor, and an undisclosed number of crew members of three Philippine Navy boats, are in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.

Aside from the USS Guardian which has been stuck on the reef since Jan. 17, two other US Navy ships are also in the area. “A US Navy supply ship has just arrived,” Balilo said.

When interviewed, he quoted Rear Adm. Rodolfo Isorena, PCG commandant, as having said there was “good coordination” between the task force and its American counterpart.

The Philippine task force group consists of representatives of the Navy, Coast Guard, Tubbataha Reef Foundation and local government units.

It was Transportation Undersecretary Eduardo Oban Jr., former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, who announced at a task force meeting that damage to Tubbataha Reefs had reached more or less 1,000 square meters.

The Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board has fined the US Navy for the unauthorized entry of the USS Guardian in the natural park.

President Aquino has directed authorities to immediately “take out” the 68-meter USS Guardian off the Tubbataha Reefs.

Unauthorized presence

What confounded the President was the unauthorized presence of the US Navy ship in the protected area and world heritage site.

Tubbataha park superintendent Angelique Songco had said the US crew had not asked for permission from park managers to enter the marine sanctuary, as mandated under Republic Act No. 10067, or the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act of 2009.

“We have no details on that, that’s why we’ll just wait for the fact-finding [team’s report], if there’s any. They are determining [it]. I don’t know how. That’s the reason why the President was asking [on Tuesday], with so much sophisticated navigation equipment, what happened? So that’s also being looked into,” said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda at a Palace briefing.

The Philippine government expected the United States, which has already apologized for the accident, to indemnify the country for the damage to the reef.

“They are a strategic ally, and I think they are cognizant of their responsibility to our government and also to a very important environmental site. This was already acknowledged by (US 7th Fleet Vice) Admiral (Scott) Swift, I think, in his expression of regrets,” said Lacierda.

Drag, lift or cut

“Three options” were being considered by the US Navy in dealing with the grounded ship, said Oban at yesterday’s task force meeting at the Western Command headquarters in Puerto Princesa City.

“The first one is to drag the ship from the reef. Second is to lift it and third, is to just cut it into several pieces,” said Balilo.

Balilo said they were trying to lighten  the ship’s load by removing various equipment and removing fuel from it.

US Navy representatives are meeting today with a salvage operator in Singapore, according to Balilo.

“They will announce  their decision shortly on what option to take,” he added.

In the Senate, Sen. Loren Legarda called on US authorities to “own up, pay up, clean up and fix up.”

Legarda, the chair of the Senate committee on foreign affairs, said the salvage of the USS Guardian should cause the least or no further damage to the reef. With a report from Norman Bordadora


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Foreign affairs , Global Nation , Maritime Accidents , Sulu Sea , Tubbataha Reefs , US Navy , World Wide Fund

  • INQ_reader

    The supposed protector of the Philippines cannot even navigate properly. We’re in big trouble.

    • http://twitter.com/Joe_The_Kano Joe Kano

       At least they have more than one real ship capable of navigation at all.

      • INQ_reader

        Ah, you mean they have more ships to prove their lousy navigation.

      • http://twitter.com/Joe_The_Kano Joe Kano

        No, I mean they have the most powerful navy in the world, while others have a donated destroyer escort and a few rafts that are totally incapable of any semblance of national defense.

      • INQ_reader

        Does that prove that they can navigate properly, like in the case of USS Guardian?

      • http://twitter.com/Joe_The_Kano Joe Kano

         It proves that you don’t make any sense.

  • Carum Al Dumal

    When we finally put a stop to dynamite and cyanide fishing, I will stand up and protest against the US Navy. At this point – I am sitting down.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E5Q5PV6KNYNVSOCHXJVJPYUVFE cion

      Etong si Legarda akala mo naman sino kung  magsalita, nakakahiya, Huy, balewala sa US yan , kayang kaya nilang ayusin dahil meron silang paninindigan, hindi puro kabig lamang na gawain ng mga elected politisyan. There is only one country who will back us up when we get in trouble and that’s US .

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000374018577 Kris Morcilla

    it was just so sad that from 10meters damages become this huge just because of lack of actions…coral reefs takes a very long years to grow..hoping that This is not all about money but try to reconstruct and take actions continuously until is completely recover,,

  • DGuardian

    Imposibleng hindi alam ng Commander ng USS Guardian na they were sailing on very shallow waters. Well-equipped ang minesweeper para ma-detect ang depth ng dagat. Para ano pa at maghahanap sila ng mga mina, kung hindi nila alam ang kinaroroonan nila at ng mga mina..Masasabugan na lang sila.  Deliberate ang ginawa ng Commander at ng crew ng USS Guardian. Nagpunta sila roon para mag-rest at mag-scuba diving. Walang posibleng ibang reason para nila pasukin hanggang kaloob-looban ng sanctuary. Mismong nasa tabi na sila ng Atoll. Hindi maiisipan  na gusto nilang mag-surveillance sa lugar dahil alam nilang die-hard na maka-Amerikano ang Pilipinas at hindi kailan man magiging deliberate source of danger sa mga bapor at eroplano nila. Dapat ay patawan ng mabigat na parusa ang Commander at mga kakutsaba niya sa illegal entry sa Tubbataha. Dapat din ay gastusan ng U.S. ang complete rehabilitation and restoration ng giniba nilang 1,000 square meters na mga coral reefs. At ipagbawal na sana ng pamahalaang Pilipino ang pagpasok ng anumang US Navy ships sa karagatan ng Palawan at sa anumang lugar sa dagat na malapit sa Marine Park. Hindi hawak ng kataas-tasang pamunuan ng US Navy ang pag-iisip. character at integridad ng mga commanders at crews ng kanilang naval forces. Maaring may mga deranged sa kanila na sa kasawiang palad ay siyang nahirang na commanders at miyembro ng crews. Ally man natin ang America, hindi lahat ng mga Amerikano at miyembro ng kanilang Armed Forces ay mapagkakatiwalaan. Mayroon din sa kanilang mga kriminal.

    • http://twitter.com/Joe_The_Kano Joe Kano

      Ang totoo: Pumunta ang barko doon kasi may bloaut kasama ng mga little green martian kaibigan mo. Nakatira sila doon.

    • sh1seadad

      Bull s h I t

  • 100% freedom of navigation

    We need people in our lives. Some unkind and hurtful words are not the best words to say to a friend who cares so much about us.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XHOO2MG76BSNSHWQIFFJRYYX7E fox

    nag diving sila doon as part of the crews rest and recreation.  sabi-sabi, ang kapitan ng USS Guardian ay si Francesco Schettino (COsta Concordia)..   joke…

    pero ang masa isip natin, dahil 3rd world nation tayo kaya ganun-ganon na lang treatment ng US sa ating national interest. Well-known naman ang US sa walang habas na pagyapak sa national territory ng ibang bansa.

    hindi rin aangal si P-noy dahil sasabihin lang sa kanya na pasalamat nga kayo at kami ang nag mamanman sa WPS ninyo. Ayun, tapos usapan.

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

    siguradong may oil spill and other pollutants na iyan

    kompiskahin na iyan and transfer to philippine navy

    kasohan na ang kapitan at crew at pagbayarin na in dollars
    pambili ng european defense equipment

    DEMOLISH VFA
    PALAYASIN MGA IMPERYALISTA

    amb basilio at usec batino dnd
    ito na resulta ng
    pag bebenta ninyo sa bayan

    • http://twitter.com/Joe_The_Kano Joe Kano

       may polluted utak si joboni96

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

        cia joe kolani

      • http://twitter.com/Joe_The_Kano Joe Kano

         colonial mentality si joboni96

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

        ang pagsira ng barko ng imperyalistang navy sa tubbataha
        ay singtulad ng pagsira ng imperyalistang u.s. sa bayan nating pilipinas

        u.s. – kastila war 1898
        pilipino – u.s. war 1899-1912 1+ million pilipinos died
        u.s. – japan war ww2 nasira pilipinas, 1 million pilipinos died
        u.s. – korea war 1950-1953 100+ pilipino casualties
        u.s. – vietnam war 1960s-70s used philippines as staging area, pilipino casualties
        u.s. – tsina war 20?? modern weapons will result in higher casualties

        hindi pa kasama dyan ang mga kinulimbat nilang
        gold at ibang mahalagang metal
        pag kalbo sa kabundukan kaya tayo binabaha ngayon
        parity rights na ginamit pang darambong
        etc etc

        ang agenda ng imperyalista
        gawing base ang bayan natin na naman
        sa gerra nila sa pinagkakautangang intsik switik

        na tayo na naman ang tatamaan
        habang sitting pretty sila unscathed
        thousands of miles away

        ang barkong ito ay another imperialist psywar operation
        to break down pilipino resistance to recolonization
        the recovered drone was another similar psywar operation of the imperialist
        yung sa scarborough, tonkin gulf incident style pakana din nila

        DEMOLISH VFA – PALAYASIN MGA IMPERYALISTA

        ng hindi gawing bases ang bayan natin ng imperyalistang u.s.
        sa napipintong gerra nila kontra hegemonistang intsik

        magpalakas ng pro pilipino defense
        kasama mga kapit bayan natin
        para pigilin ang intsik switik sea grabbing

      • sh1seadad

        Paranoid leftist joboni96. You and your communist friends must change your mentality. you do not want to become a colony of China. Communism is not good. You have all been brainwashed at such a young age now is the time to change the mentality of you and your Bayan and NPA friends make yourself a leader of freedom and democracy. NO TO COMMUNISUM!
         

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

        1950′s red commie bogeyman pa rin
        si imperialist navy traitor

        sa pagka kolonisadong utak mo
        blindsided ka na

        sa dami ng mga pro pilipino

        ok ka rin
        you don’t bite the hand
        that feeds you

    • sh1seadad

      Do not spread to much propaganda.

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

        ito pang katotohanan

        ang pagsira ng barko ng imperyalistang navy sa tubbataha
        ay singtulad ng pagsira ng imperyalistang u.s. sa bayan nating pilipinas

        u.s. – kastila war 1898
        pilipino – u.s. war 1899-1912 1+ million pilipinos died
        u.s. – japan war ww2 nasira pilipinas, 1 million pilipinos died
        u.s. – korea war 1950-1953 100+ pilipino casualties
        u.s. – vietnam war 1960s-70s used philippines as staging area, pilipino casualties
        u.s. – tsina war 20?? modern weapons will result in higher casualties

        hindi pa kasama dyan ang mga kinulimbat nilang
        gold at ibang mahalagang metal
        pag kalbo sa kabundukan kaya tayo binabaha ngayon
        parity rights na ginamit pang darambong
        etc etc

        ang agenda ng imperyalista
        gawing base ang bayan natin na naman
        sa gerra nila sa pinagkakautangang intsik switik

        na tayo na naman ang tatamaan
        habang sitting pretty sila unscathed
        thousands of miles away

        ang barkong ito ay another imperialist psywar operation
        to break down pilipino resistance to recolonization
        the recovered drone was another similar psywar operation of the imperialist
        yung sa scarborough, tonkin gulf incident style pakana din nila

        DEMOLISH VFA – PALAYASIN MGA IMPERYALISTA

        ng hindi gawing bases ang bayan natin ng imperyalistang u.s.
        sa napipintong gerra nila kontra hegemonistang intsik

        magpalakas ng pro pilipino defense
        kasama mga kapit bayan natin
        para pigilin ang intsik switik sea grabbing

  • Platypus09

    USA, this would be the last mistake you will do to my country’s marine resources. Pls do something to your navigation system which failed big time this time.

    Learn your lessons.

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

    THE UNITED STATES NEED TO PAY 1 SQUADRON F16 FIGHTER JETS TO THE PHILIPPINES!!

    • http://twitter.com/Joe_The_Kano Joe Kano

       Two used jeepneys, a tricycle and a sorbetes cart. And one bottle of Ginebra.

    • sh1seadad

      3 French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree also!



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Marketplace