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Salvage of US Navy ship to start


In a photo released by the U.S. Navy, the mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian sits aground in this Jan. 22, 2013 file photo on the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea in the Philippines. AP/U.S. Navy. Naval Aircrewman 3rd Class Geoffrey Trudell

MANILA, Philippines—The US Navy minesweeper USS Guardian, which is stuck in the Tubbataha Reef in Palawan, will be “chopped up” beginning Monday, a ranking Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) officer said on Saturday.

PCG Palawan District commander Commodore Enrico Evangelista said the crane ship MT Jascon 25 was expected to arrive at 11 p.m. Saturday while salvaging operations for the Guardian would begin Monday.

“For the past month, we prepared the USS Guardian for removal and the best way to remove (it) is through cutting,” Evangelista said in an interview.

“We have already removed the things that can be removed so now (the ship) is ready for removal. We will begin cutting (tomorrow),” he added.

Evangelista said they removed “50-caliber machine guns, small guns and ammunition but no missiles.”

The United States earlier hired the services of salvaging ships MT Trabajador 1 of Malayan Towage and Salvaging Corp. and the Vos Apollo of a Malaysian company based in Singapore. The US Navy’s USNS Salvor and the PCG’s BRP Romblon are also at the site.

Evangelita said the chopped up parts of the ship would be placed on the Vos Apollo and transferred to a barge from Subic Bay.

“This is a warship of the US Navy so they will determine where it will be disposed. I still don’t know what they intend to do with it. The ship may have a design that is a trade secret,” he said.

He said that the Philippine government no longer needed the ship parts in its investigation into the grounding incident.

In Baguio City, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Saturday ruled out the possibility of sending the crew of the USS Guardian to jail for running aground on Tubbataha Reef.

“It becomes tricky in that respect,” Abaya told reporters when asked if the US Navy personnel could be imprisoned for destroying the coral at Tubbataha as provided in Republic Act No. 10067, the law that established the Tubbataha Reef National Park.

Abaya said it was accepted in the general practice of international law that “men of war, foreign naval vessels enjoy immunity, especially if it is in the line of duty.”

“So that has been practiced nationwide, so it would be difficult on that part,” Abaya said on the sidelines of the Philippine Military Academy homecoming in Fort del Pilar. Abaya is a member of PMA Class ’88.

Nonetheless, Abaya said the US Navy would still be sanctioned for the damage its minesweeper caused to the reef that has been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.

The USS Guardian, which ran aground at Tubbataha on Jan. 17, destroyed some 4,000 square meters of coral.

But Abaya said the overall damage to the reef had yet to be “assessed” because the ship was still stuck there.

The only way to have an “accurate picture” of the damage is if the ship is removed, he said. With a report from Nikko Dizon


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Tags: Enrico Evangelista , Joseph Emilio Abaya , PCG , PCH Palawan District , Philippine Coast Guard , Tubbataha Reef , USS Guardian

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VD7FFIOI44QV46A3OOFPTYND3A Marnie Dave

    I think there is other things that going here, I think US may try to dig deep in this area and try to check if there is really natural gas or any oil on this area.. Take note that this mine sweeper is old and they only use this to cover up what is really their intentions.

    I hope there must be strict monitoring on all their activities till the end..

    • INQ_reader

      Correct. americans always have evil intentions beneath amiable appearances.

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

        That’s not very nice.
        You seem to have some serious mental health issues.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        just another hot air baloon playing with mommies computor

      • INQ_reader

        Go back to history, and tell me about the alleged “manifest destiny.” Nice words right? But it meant the murder of 250,000 of my countrymen.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        the spanish and church killed more

      • INQ_reader

        Thanks for admitting that americans killed 250,000 of my countrymen. Of course you did not give figures how many the “spanish” (sic) and church killed, which weakens your argument.

      • http://www.facebook.com/john.spencer.94849410 John Spencer

        You kuyukot noypis are a joke. Better brush up on your Chinese – you’ll need it.

      • INQ_reader

        americans already need the Chinese. The Chinese are their biggest creditor.

    • Loggnat

      Rumors are that the captain and some crew wants to sneak some unauthorized recreational diving in the world famous reef but got lost and run aground while doing it. :))) They hooked up in what they thought as an anchor buoy but it turned out that it was just a marker buoy that was pulled out of its anchor. So the ship drifted to the reef and ran aground. Oooops! :)))

      • MC M

        That would be a career limiting action!

      • Loggnat

        You are much too kindhearted… :) it is a career ending ooops!

      • Crazy_horse101010

        yes so did the rainbow warrior or maybe they were high you know how tree huggers are

    • MC M

      You obviously know nothing of how energy exploration works. A company such as Furgo (for example) would survey the area first. Obviously, and even since the Rainbow Warrior ran into the same reef in 2007 (USD 7,000 fine) there are no truly accurate surveys of the ocean floor in that area. 

      Secondly, there are no drill ships or drilling rigs in the reef area capable of exploration drilling. These are all owned by private companies who would not risk going near a UNESCO site. You would need a Jack-up or a Semi Submersible if the water depth is beyond 250 ft of depth or thereabouts. 

      Lastly: A drill rig costs in the neighbourhood of USD 80,000 (Indians and Chinese) to 200,000 (Better Crews) per day to operate with support from shore based facilities, tender boats and helicopter service for crew changes. Your Hypothesis is highly unlikely and with no basis of fact.    

      • Fk Cabusao

        I very much agree with you MC M. A rig needs months to erect, erstwhile to justify of placing one requires a lot of geographical data, seismic analysis, geological studies etc. etc. which again require both large financial backing and an indefinite time frame, in order to proceed drilling a survey well to begin with.

        As everyone is entitled to its own opinion, people should at least manage their speculation to minimize their stupidity. I guess most of the people are educated by the movies!

    • Crazy_horse101010

      you have to kidding me you have to have five or six boats to hunt oil paroania

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

       No, they’re REALLY there because someone said they saw Elvis under the water meeting with the little green men from mars.

  • kilawon

    after that CHOP2x VFA and send them back home! they are nothing but trouble!

    • INQ_reader

      Agree 101%.

      No to VFA !!!

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

         No to dogmatic wankers!!!

      • Crazy_horse101010

        no foreign aid three cheers for VFA!!!!!!! haw haw haw twit

      • kilawon

         idiot ! the foreign you aid your talking about is a form of debt! there is no free lunch dummy!

      • Crazy_horse101010

        stupid you dont even know what your babbling about dummy

      • INQ_reader

        Unless you lived in the moon, the Philippines is already a creditor nation.

    • Crazy_horse101010

      go get them tiger show them what a big hero you are haw haw haw

      • kilawon

        your govt is the biggest supporter of terrorist network in the world ! your govt even support Muslim filipinos mujaheddin to fight during Russo-afghan war ! now they return home and you consider them terrorist ie(MILF) moro islamic liberation front!  backstabbing ,liar, manipulative american terrorist just like the culture pepenos! go home

      • Crazy_horse101010

        your stupidity is showing again. we consider the taliban terrorists as i said before come and make me go home be a hero ywah right another whining crybaby all mouth  oh in the hell are the muslim flippino mujaheddin. never met one. your rabies shot is wearing off again. tata have a nice day haw haw haw you make me laugh

  • INQ_reader

    american stupidity – day 32 on 2/17/13

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

      Are you saying they’re stupid for spending $25 million to clean up the mess?
      I guess you would rather that they just leave it there.
      You seem pretty stupid, indeed.

      • INQ_reader

        It’s really simple, how can the alleged greatest navy of the world fail to navigate properly? About the payment of 25M, serves them right.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        inq stupidy still going on and on.never ending babble. sounds  like a rooster crowing

    • Crazy_horse101010

      inq stupidity until the second coming of christ surprised you can count to 32 mommie help you

      • INQ_reader

        american stupidity – day 33 on 2/18/13

  • bogli_anakdami

    dapat bombahin ng flip gung gongs si kanuto…

    pero dapat eh utangin muna kay kanuto yung bomba, tapos bombahin, di ba?

    hay naku, flips, puro kayo mga gung gongs…

  • ownwrite

    a classic case of american stupidity and arrogance. did you know that most typical americans do not understand metaphor such as when i say “white trash” they will take it to mean as styro. 

    star spangled shalala

    • Crazy_horse101010

      better american stupidity than your stupidity racist. 

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

       Somehow, I doubt you’ve actually encountered many Americans up close and personal.

  • ownwrite

    Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya  said it was accepted in the general practice of international law that “men of war, foreign naval vessels enjoy immunity, especially if it is in the line of duty.”
    What the fu**. As “Tuta ng Kano” as this secretary can get.

  • opinyonlangpo

    Not sure whether they finished what they intended to do or not, they are still buying for some time to stay in that area. This navy ship is a minesweeper and doesnt need accurate map to detect and avoid small mines,  unbelievable if it can not detect a sizable reef whatever size it is. Somebody getting fooled here.

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

       They’re just buying time to stay there and continue searching for Elvis.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        there wasnt this much news print when the titanic sank

      • opinyonlangpo

        Possibly. Theres more sense to that.

    • MC M

      More speculative basura. Please illuminate the readership on what possible gains could be gotten from scrapping a 227 million dollar ship? Maybe it is an evil plot by the metal scrap industry to flood the market with cheap scrap metal so they don’t have to buy it from the Chinese and you can cheaply repair your roof… or no (insert evil plot music here)  … the US has developed an invisible stealth underwater energy stealing drill sub. 

      Why would mines be on a map? Maybe they should have checked Google earth first?


      • giltor

        I would pay more attention to the USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) – it could be operating something clandestine similar to the USNS Glomar Explorer way back .

        Not much on scrap metal value here. USS Guardian is a wooden/fiberglass-hulled vessel. Not good for firewood either – douglas fir emit acrid smoke when burned.

        Mines and object like coral reefs have distinctive sonar signature. A good sonarman could even hear shrimps doing their things.

        Tubbataha is known to have a large colony of snapping shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis distinguished from Alpheus homochaelis) The Tubbataha Park Rangers specially trained them to lure US and Chicom Navies’s ships to their doom in Davy Jones’s locker.

      • MC M

        Curses… foiled again :)

      • opinyonlangpo

        Exactly. Throw those questions to the navy ship.

  • giltor

    Opinyonlangpo might have a point here: Remember USNS GLOMAR EXPLORER (T-AG-193)?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K7Z7MZMIW6CPT53GMOE3ITVFA4 Jose Corazon

    I have a modest suggestion po if it merits the kind consideration of the authorities and the public: why not just leave the ship let it sink at the bottom of the sea, there to form as fish sanctuary, that way we avoid cost and expenses, problems about salvaging, and preventing our blood pressure to rise up. The only thing left is for the US Navy to pay for the damages which they can easily resolve.

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