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DOTC gives nod to salvage work on USS Guardian

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Giant waves batter the USS Guardian, a minesweeper that ran aground in the POWERLESS. Tubbataha Reefs in the Sulu Sea, tossing the ship some 90 degrees from its position on Thursday (inset) and making it parallel to the reef line. The photographs are courtesy of the AFP Western Command

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has given the go-signal for the salvage plan of the US Navy.

The plan involves using cranes to remove the stranded USS Guardian piece by piece from the Tubbataha Reef.

“We have carefully reviewed the US Navy’s salvage operations plan and we were assured that among their priorities is to have no further damage to the Tubbataha Reef,” DOTC secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement Thursday.

“We considered several factors and imposed certain conditions before we gave clearance for the US Navy and commercial salvors it has commissioned to undertake the dismantling and vertical removal of the grounded US ship,” Abaya said.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Palawan district chief Commodore Enrico Evangelista said that the crane ship Smit Borneo had already arrived in Tubbataha Tuesday evening and was rigging its anchor in the area.

The USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper that the US said was already “a complete loss,” had been stranded on the Unesco World Heritage Site since January 17, 2013.

The ship will be cut in into pieces and then vertically extracted from the site. The removal could take up to next month depending on weather conditions, the statement said.

More than 1,000 square meters of reefs in the protected area had already been destroyed by the grounded ship. The US had issued an apology for the incident and assured the Philippine government that it would compensate for the damages.


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Tags: Environment , Features , Global Nation , Tubbataha Reef , USS Guardian , Visiting Forces Agreement

  • kanoy

    The U.S. Navy’s latest $277MILLION pile of scrap: Minesweeper will hacked to pieces after it ran aground on reef off Philippines

    It’s unclear how, exactly, the ship will be dismantled – it’s something  that the Navy has not done in recent memory – or perhaps ever, experts say.

    DUTCH,,,,,NOT PHILIPPINES

    The Navy has contracted two massive crane ships and a barge from the Dutch contractor Smit International to clean up and remove the Navy vessel.

    Navy-led salvage teams have already removed most of the ship’s materials that could be environmentally harmful to Tubbataha Reef.

    All of the 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel aboard the 224-foot-long, 1,312-ton ship were removed Friday, along with dry food stores and the personal effects of the Guardian’s crew of 79

    The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which prepares the digital navigation charts used by the Navy, has reported the location of the reef was misplaced on a chart by nine miles.

    TO THE POSTER ON THIS BLOG WHO STATED THIS SHIP DOES NOT HAVE SONAR

    The ship has complex sonar systems that can detect mines beneath the surface of the water. It is unknown how the systems failed to detect the reef.

    None of the 79 sailors about the ship were injured and all but ten of the crew was returned to the forward-deployment base in Sasebo, Japan.

    Those ten sailors, including Lt Commander Rice, remained behind aboard the USS Mustin – a guided missile destroyer that is overseeing the cleanup operation.

    The Navy would determine whether Lt Commander Rice will face disciplinary action after it concludes its investigation of the crash

    • Crazy_horse101010

      from what ive read the sonar is towed behind the ship like treasure hunting ship. thats why the ship is wood and fiberglass

      • kanoy

        no sir i think you are referring to a sonarbouy, but they are not used to locate subs or mines
        this is a relatively new ship, 25 yrs old i think. there are only 14 of them….there are 3 types of active sonar there is also passive sonar
         the type you describe is horizontal, the next is echo, which is vertical, then you have the USS Guardian which uses…which i am sure you will find as amusing as the USN finds embarrassing ……
        Technical representatives from the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division assisted USS Guardian (MCM 5) with the installation of a new SQQ-32 Sonar on Saturday, January 14, 2012. The new sonar enhances Guardian’s ability to detect, classify, and neutralize mines with its simpler user-interface and clearer picture.

        “The new system will be great for the command,” said Mineman 1st Class Joseph Cooper of Guardian. “It will be much easier to use, and it greatly improves our ability to complete our mission.”

        Guardian, forward deployed in Sasebo, Japan, is the first minesweeper in the Seventh Fleet Area of Responsibility to receive the upgraded sonar.

        YES SIR, VISUAL, AS IN, HI-TECH TV CAMERA OMG 1 YR OLD

        ONLY THE HULL >>ship is wood and fiberglass

        RIGHT NOW ITS WEARING A KEVLAR SKIRT,,KEVLAR AS IN BULLET PROOF VEST

      • Crazy_horse101010

        ok some one on the cnn forums didnt know what he was talking about. . . its like everything you read dozens of experts.thanks for the info you must have been navy

      • kanoy

         Army….but i have been following this since it began trying to learn of this ship. i know greenpeace damaged this same reef in 2005 and paid a huge fine of,,,,$7000 US….HUGE?
        i know the importance of this reef….its 1 of the 5% of reefs left that Filipinos have not destroyed with cyanide or dynamite
        i know also that while the ship damaged 1000sqm of reef and Aquino is ”outraged” he has not uttered 1 complaint nor 1 care about the same type of area completely obliterated by Filipino poachers off the coast of Cotabato 2 weeks ago..even killing 147 endangered sea turtles 1 which was between 80-100 yrs old and the area wiped out forever was twice the size of Manilla…..so this government cares scenario is as fake as Jinkee Pacquiao’s BELO nose

      • Crazy_horse101010

        i agree ive been ranting about the same thing because i witness it. i bought one turtle and set it loose because the people were going to eat it

      • kanoy

         YES,,,ABOUT COTABATO CORAL & TURTLES DAMAGE GOING UNOPPOSED,,,ALMOST UNNOTICED,,,WHILE ALL THIS ”OUTRAGE” IS GENERATED ON AN AREA LESS THAN HALF THE SIZE AND NO MORE IMPORTANT,,,LEADS ME TO THINK OF BOUGHT AND PAID FOR VOTES AND PROTESTORS AND WHY IS THE CHURCH SO SILENT? IS THIS ALL NOT GODS EARTH? DO NOT TURTLES & OTHER SPECIES OF GODS CREATION ALSO HAVE A RIGHT TO LIFE? OR DOES THAT RIGHT ONLY BELONG TO THOSE WHO GIVE TITHES?

      • Crazy_horse101010

        yes ive seen them doing illegal fishing in front of government building.church is to worried people will stop having so many kids and lose money.its like a bunch of ostriches stick their head in the ground and maybe the problem will go away. the newspapers dont help the problem either. it was all the papers here about a old american who went into a store and stole 200 pisos of food. big news item, anything invovling a foreigner is front page news

      • kanoy

         LOL YEA THE CHURCH IS LIKE A 2 HEADED DOG….LEFT WITH NO AZZ TO BITE



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