PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines—The salvage operation to remove the USS Guardian from the Tubbataha Reef was put on hold Sunday because of turbulent sea conditions, which prevented the giant crane ship SMIT Borneo from anchoring close to the moribund US minesweeper.
Authorities also announced they have decided to wait for the arrival of another crane ship, the Jascon 25, from Singapore before resuming salvage operations. They estimated that Jascon 25 would arrive in the area in the evening of February 15.
“Due to the difficulty in anchoring the SMIT Borneo brought about by the unfavorable sea condition, the salvors decided not to continue with the anchoring but instead will wait for the arrival of crane ship Jascon 25,” the Coast Guard Palawan district head, Commander Efren Evangelista, said in a text message to reporters.
Evangelista added there would be no cutting of the Guardian until the arrival of the second crane ship.
“Meanwhile, the salvors will continue to prepare the Guardian prior to removal, such as clearing of any items, which can be removed from that ship,” he said.
He said that Philippine Coast Guard and Tubbataha park rangers would continue daily “environmental patrols.”