US Navy presents plan to dismantle grounded ship in Tubbataha

A+
A
A-

USS Guardian AP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The United States Navy has presented to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) its USS Guardian “dismantling plan” that will utilize floating cranes in what it calls a “complex operation” to minimize damage to the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea.

Lt. Commander Armand Balilo, the PCG spokesperson, however, told the Philippines they have to get word from the US Navy when the actual ship dismantling operation would start.

In a text message, Balilo said on Monday “there’s no information yet on the exact date of the ship-breaking.”

But he assured PCG personnel “will assist the US Navy personnel (involved in the operation).”

Coast Guard vessels will also “conduct patrols to secure the Tubbataha Reef area while the operation is underway,” Balilo added.

Reports reaching the PCG headquarters in Manila said the SMIT Borneo of SMIT Singapore Pte. Ltd., the floating crane contracted by the US Navy to remove the grounded Guardian, has arrived at the reef.

US naval salvage experts have assessed that attempts to remove the Guardian intact, such as towing or pulling it off the reef, could cause more damage to the reef and the ship’s hull and most likely result in the vessel breaking up or sinking.

The Guardian ran aground on Jan. 17, while transiting to Indonesia after a port visit at the former US naval base in Subic, Zambales.

On Jan. 31, the US Pacific Fleet said the ship dismantling operation “will take more than one month.”

In a statement, the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii-based command said the US Navy “has presented a dismantling plan to the Philippine Coast Guard that maintains the floating cranes necessary for this operation in deeper waters in order to minimize coral damage to the Tubbataha Reef.”

“We continue to work closely at all levels with the Philippine Coast Guard, Navy and government officials, and we are grateful for the support we have received to remove the Guardian and minimize further damage to the reef,” said Capt. Daryn James, US Pacific Fleet spokesman.

According to James, the Guardian is “badly damaged and with the deteriorating integrity of the ship, the weight involved and where it is grounded on the reef, dismantling in sections is the only supportable option.”

“We have the right team of experienced professionals to conduct this complex operation and to ensure that it is done safely while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment,” he said.

James also reported that “no fuel has leaked since the grounding and all of the approximately 15,000 gallons aboard the Guardian were safely transferred off the ship during the two days of controlled defueling operations last week.”

“Since the Guardian’s grounding, the Navy has been working meticulously to salvage any reusable equipment, retrieved the crew’s personal effects and remove any potentially harmful materials, including petroleum-based products and human waste water,” he said.

Three other US Navy vessels – the USS Mustin, USNS Bowditch and USNS Salvor – and two other ships, the MV Trabajador and the Malaysian tug VOS Apolo “remain on the scene supporting the salvage operation,” James added.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • PH2011

    A very costly error (?).

    Breaking a warship worth more than 200 million USD, damaged
    protective corals, salvage operations and transfers cost, penalty payment etc.

    What was a warship doing in a UNESCO protected areas remained vague
    and un- answered.

    A US warship, for sure is equipt with the most sophisticated tracking
    equipments ( GPS etc. )

    This is a clandestine trip for what….oil explo, treasures, leisure, or
    just fishing?

    • https://me.yahoo.com/a/iV0XkkNontlsHWTkG2jcuz.PB64A#6b054 F Alonso

      Whether a GPS or Navigational Chart was used,the basic necessity is that the Coordinate system used is compatible with the current location of the USS Reef Sweeper.On previous report,the location of the ship is 6miles out, relative to the position of the ship when caught on the Reef.

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

       They were there to meet the little green men from mars who live under your bed.

    • sh1seadad

      Watch out for the boggy man he will come and get you

  • shane oy

    hmmm connect the dots….north korea is planning to launch/test whatever they have and points towards US … meanwhile US fleet is just around the PH waiting/dismantling this ship …. coincidence maybe.

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

    misdirection lang pala sa tubbataha

    habang naka tingin tayo doon
    1. pumasok ang nuclear sub
    2. nadagdagan ng u.s. marines sa palawan
    3. dumami p3 orion aircraft sa cebu
    4. more u.s. warships sa tubbataha
    5. isa pang imperialist warship sa subic

    binuka na talaga ni pnoy
    tahimik pa mga senador

    sabi nga ng american enterprise institute lately

    “US forces have begun to operate from bases in the Philippines again;
    the arrangements fall well short of the huge presence of the Cold War,
    but are increasingly frequent and substantial.”

    sa kapabayaan ni zte aroyo at amboy ramos
    na recolonize tayo ulit

    mag organisa na ulit
    full sovereignty independence movement

    • Crazy_horse101010

      watch out the bogeyman is coming so hide under your bed

    • sh1seadad

      Blah blah blah same same old propaganda different day. And by the way my cloths are are washed did you wash yours.
      Communist brainwashed Philippine trader. No to communism. Freedom and democracy is the only way to live.

      • DakuAkongUtin

         shztazzdaddy,  nag blahblah ka naman dyan parang sirang plaka. Magpunta ka na sa Olongapo susunduin mo ang dadarating na submarinong Kano. Kakanta ka ng Welcome Kumbaya at sasayaw ng tinikling para e welcome mo sila.

      • sh1seadad

        Fk communism

      • DakuAkongUtin

         shzttydad, you fck the white man and go to hell!

      • sh1seadad

        You go to heIl you communist looser

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

       dogma jakolero

  • Tum

    Sometimes I can’t help but meditate seriously on the views of the conspiracy-theorists knowing that military propaganda has been a strong device for colonialism, or whatever it can be termed.  The way it is now, whether Philippines likes it or not, the VFA of 6 decades more or less ensures that US forces will be an active presence in her islands and waters.  Getting away from US influence is almost an impossibility. I mean, look at what’s happened: a simple error that could have been avoided has now dragged on for weeks, notwithstanding that the reef is constantly being battered, moreover Philippines is being bashed by bystanders for notifying about violations which includes standard fines, but more disturbingly additional US facilities are being put up around. The US has millions to spend, and there’s more where it comes from obviously, so that it doesn’t make sense that a living breathing reef belonging to Earth has to be sacrificed — üüü my dots here sound haphazard but I’m really trying to connect them without being too emotional about it and neither jumping to absurdities.

  • INQ_reader

    american stupidity – day 18 on 2/5/13

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

       Bawal umihi dito araw-araw.

      • INQ_reader

        Bawal mag-massacre sa paaralan, araw-araw

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

        Bawal na inom ng Pasig.

      • INQ_reader

        Talagang bawal yun, alam ng Pinoy yun. Yun kano kaya alam? Kung sa dagat nga naliligaw….

  • i_am_filipino

    USA AND PHILIPPINES, MAY GOD THE HEAVENLY FATHER HELP US TO SUCCEED AGAINST THE COMMUNIST EVIL.

  • i_am_filipino

    THE GOVERNMENT MUST DEPLOY AT LEAST 4 TUG BOATS TO HELP THE CRANE-SHIP TO COUNTER PULL AGAINST THE STRONG CURRENT. ALLOW THE CRANE TO DROP ITS ANCHOR AND JUST CALCULATE THE AREA OF ANOTHER DAMAGE. IN THIS SENSE. WE SAVE BOTH THE SHIP ON TIME AS WELL AS THE CORAL. THE SHORTER THE OPERATION, THE LESS CONSEQUENCE OF DAMAGE TO THE REEF. THE ONLY THING THAT WE NEED TO ACCEPT IS AS SOON AS THE DISSECTED SHIP GETS LIGHTER AND SMALLER, IT MAY SHIFT TO ANOTHER PLACE DUE TO STRONG CURRENT THUS, CREATING ANOTHER DAMAGE HOWEVER, THE USA CAN HELP US IN RESTORING THE DAMAGE REEF. EXPECT THE SALVOR FROM TIME TO TIME TO DROP ITS ANCHOR SEVERAL TIMES. THIS IS DUE TO THE STRONG AND CONTINUOUS CHANGES OF THE DIRECTION OF CURRENT. THIS IS TO AVOID TWISTING OF ANCHOR UNLESS THEY DROP MORE THAN TWO ANCHORS. ALTERNATIVELY, A TEMPORARY SINGLE BUOY MOORING CAN BE PLANTED AT LEAST TWO OR PERHAPS THREE TO MOORE THE CRANE SHIP TO FIX FIRMLY ON ITS POSITION WHILE ON OPERATION. AGAIN, THIS NEEDS TO BE PLANNED CAREFULLY. PLANTING SBM CAN SOMEHOW MINIMIZE THE DAMAGE OF THE CORALS BY CHOOSING A CLEAR LOCATION AWAY FROM THE CORALS.

    • DakuAkongUtin

       I’m_dirty_kayumangmang_azz,   ang daming kagalingan mo na mga ideas, talagang train ka talaga sa lahing kayumangmang tribo mo.  Bakit hindi ka nandoon na supervise ?
      Tuturuan mo yung mga Puti at Negro paano gagawin yan , hindi yata nila alam ang tamang gagawin, ano ?

      • sh1seadad

        Communist trader

      • i_am_filipino

        YOU KNOW IDIOT, AMERICAN AND FILIPINOS ARE HELPING EACH OTHER TO FIGHT AGAINST CHINESE AND BECAUSE YOU ARE CHINESE, THEREFORE, WE ARE YOUR MORTAL AND FOREVER ENEMY. WE DON’T SHARE THE SAME RELIGION LIKE USA AND PH DO SO I GUESS YOUR SOAR GRAPING NEEDS A BIT OF STRONG ACID OTHER THAN “SUKA” BECAUSE I CAN TELL NOW THAT YOUR CHINKY EYES IS MUCH SMALLER THAN THE TINY HOLE OF THE  NEEDLE. GO BACK TO YOUR CAVE.

      • DakuAkongUtin

        Kano and Kayus fighting against China is not new. In fact , Red Army was fighting the entire UN forces in Korea 63 yrs ago. Mao’s forces were at most a peasant army against modern armies of the time. Your contribution to that war was from a valiant Lt Ramos who was more interested in rummaging for cigars from dead wthie troops so he can enjoy smoking them to beat the winter cold. Yeah , right, so much for his Macarthur wannabe persona.

        Again, China is not new to fighting the Kanos and UN forces. After a decade in Korean war, these wthie devils showed their dirty azzes in IndoChina and tried to bomb the north. China supported Ho Chin Minh of NVN and VGooks so they can win all of Vietnam.

        The Pinos and Aussies were in Vietnam to support the corrupt Nguyen Clan   elites running SVN who eventually loss the struggle and fled with their gold bullions. BTW the PhilCOG in Vietnam were in noncombat role. They chose to bec they know Red China beat their azzes in Korean War. They rather get drunk, eat pulutan, watching dolphy and smoke opium behind more secured areas and let the white troops do the dirty work fighting the Gooks.

        Yes, China will rise to the occasion to defend its territories when it sees fit. If you want to become the next S Vietnam, then dont cry when China  burn  your dirty azzes.

  • Vertumnus

    The reef is already damage!  Why destroy a $227 million warship? Salvage it and give to the Philippines as payment for damaging the reef.  

    • DakuAkongUtin

      pang target practice na lang para sa ToraTora Squadron ng PAF.

      • sh1seadad

        That would destroy more of the precious reef dummy

      • DakuAkongUtin

        If you re  so protective of Kanos and justifying the fact that rivers like Pasig is trashed beyond repair , then might as well trash the Tubbathata Reef ?  Tora Tora pilots need real dive bombing skills on a real target like this one. That be a good show on Tv patrol.

  • cesdeco

    Since when that a commander of a USS ship become as stupid as I am?

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

    PAY THE PHILIPPINES ONE SUBMARINE MADE IN UNITED STATES ITS GOOD PAYMENTS

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

editors' picks

advertisement

popular

advertisement

videos