Removal of US Navy ship gets under way at Tubbataha


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 Photo/U.S. Navy. Naval Aircrewman 3rd Class Geoffrey Trudell

MANILA, Philippines—Noting the “very good” weather at Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea, the commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Sunday said preliminary work before the actual dismantling of the USS Guardian was under way.

Rear Adm. Rodolfo Isorena said at least nine vessels, including the PCG search-and-rescue ship BRP Davao del Norte, were at the Tubbataha marine park as the salvage operation was about to start.

The USS Guardian ran aground at the reef, a United Nations World Heritage Site, on Jan. 17 while on its way to Indonesia.

The PCG’s Davao del Norte is tasked with “closely monitoring the salvage operation being undertaken by private contractors” hired by the US Navy, said Coast Guard spokesperson Lt. Commander Armand Balilo.

In a text message to the Inquirer, Isorena said the other ships in the vicinity were the US Navy vessels Salvor and Wally Schirra; the Singaporean crane ships Jascon 25, Smit Borneo and Archon Tide; the Malaysian salvage vessel Trabajador 1 with barge S-7000, and the tugboat Intrepid.

Citing a PCG-Palawan station report, he said the Jascon 25 “is positioned about 20 meters from the Guardian.”

Using cranes, the ship will position itself to take machinery and equipment off the US Navy minesweeper. It will also carry some of the equipment needed in the ship-cutting operation.

The chopped-up parts of the Guardian will be transferred to the barge and salvage ships. The US Navy has yet to say where the ship parts will be taken.

On Saturday, “the salvage master conducted a briefing for all concerned aboard the Jascon 25.”

“They discussed the work plan, as well as ways to ensure the safety of the salvage team and the prevention of further damage to the reef,” said Isorena.

The salvage team plans to “put up additional reference beacons and sensors and unload loose ship equipment, personal effects and gym equipment.”

On Saturday, the PCG downplayed concerns that tropical depression “Crising” had aggravated the damage to Tubbataha Reef.

Balilo questioned the claim of militant groups that the extent of the damage at the reef had grown to half a hectare after Crising passed over Palawan.

“The storm did not hit Tubbataha. It passed by Brooke’s Point in Palawan but not directly over Tubbataha,” Balilo said in an interview.

PCG Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista, head of Task Force Tubbataha, said there would be a joint assessment made by American and Filipino authorities to determine the extent of the damage to the reef once the Guardian is removed from the site.—With a report from Redempto D. Anda, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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  • NoWorryBHappy

    Removal of US Navy ship gets under way at Tubbataha
    Dear Uncle Sam,

    That’s a good start.
    Our reef, we break, we fix.
    Our reef, you break, you fix.

    Juan dela Cruz

    • Crazy_horse101010

      when is someone going to fix our reef that has been broken by blasters. i see it getting destroyed but i have yet seen anyone fixing or doing anything to stop it. everyone sits on their thumbs and does nothing. when they can blow reefs in broad daylight in front of towns and tourists everyone just watches..with 70 percent of the reefs destroyed and another 20 percent damaged someone had better hurry and save the last 5 percent. because no one is going to fix what has been destroyed. start at the reef behind my house because im sick of lookong at the damage

    • BIGButo

      The reef is a living thing it will fix itself don’t worry be happy

      • Crazy_horse101010

        yeah it only takes 100 years there is no living in a desert and how will it grow in pollution and cyanide..thats the problem everyones happy and dont care but keep  wondering why the price of fish goes up.i have seen reefs that were destroyed over 15 years  ago and nothing has grown back yet.  still a desert, ..

      • Crazy_horse101010

        ps how will it ever grow back while its begin blasted every day and now the the blasted fish are coming from palawan. and guess whats next because they arent going to stop its getting worse and no one can stop because  there are to many of them. so be happy and do nothing.

      • BIGButo

        Being blasted every day you mean not begin blasted every day

      • Crazy_horse101010

        so what need need someone to translate for you im honored if that is the best you can do to insult me. i seen some of your mistakes also now we are even.  touche

      • BIGButo

        I know I was just letting you know no one is perfect. Like on the Obama post when I typed looser instead of loser and you let me know about it. Now we’re even see ya

      • Crazy_horse101010

        no problem you might even be one ahead. i have a bad habit of not proof reading what i write. so ill concede to you. i did that because of the clown who has been stalking me and he responded to it so sorry you got sucked into the games have a good day peace

      • Crazy_horse101010

        no being. the only reason i say anything to you is because you bashed my country and president and im going to fight back. if romney was so good why didnt he carry his own state. they rejected him. .any way i dont insult the president of the philippines if i did i would probably be killed,.and the republican has been destroyed by the so called tea party..

      • BIGButo

        I did not bash your country and I will be glad when Obama’s term is up. He will be gone in a little less that four years and I will be glad. He is destroying the Economy of the United States and trying spread his socialist agenda.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        thats your opinion not mine anyway he is in so there is nothing no one can do about it except wait and see. all i know is the republicans have gone insane..i was always replublican  but with the tea party garbage i switched oh well everyone is entitled to his  opinion. arguing about it is kind of moot. you and i cant solve the worlds problems. so i try to stick to reefs and sea turtles safer

  • Fredie P. Dasmariñas

    Despite Of Electronic Navigation And High Tech Bridge Equipments, Standardization Of Safe Navigation Is Enabling The IMO To Utilize Implementation Of Rules, Publications And Amendments, As Per Bridge Resources. Code Of Federal Regulation In The Other Hand, Has A Strict Regulation Regarding US Legislation, On The US Coastal Waters, And International Waters As Well. A Breach Of Such Rules And Legislation Results In A Civil And Criminal Offense And Even Imprisonment Depending On The Gravity Of A Breach.

    Since The Restriction Of Such Coverage And Jurisdiction Of The CFR Is At Hand, It Is Therefore Has To Be In A State Of Equilibrium, By Enforcing Rules Outside The Coverage Of It, By Implementing A Strict Compliance Of Local Legislation On A Coastal Waters Not Only Of The Philippines, Specially A Protected Area Such As Tubbataha Reef. Our Rules has To Be Respected, The Way We Respect Their Own.

    For The Matter Of Keeping The Respect Of The Citizens Who Abide The Law, The Government Should Also Show That They Too Is Respectable, For This Is A Government Of The People, By The People And For The People.                

    • Crazy_horse101010

      2009 chinese container ship ran aground detroying half of lagunais near cebu captain paid 5000 piso find. 2 days ago ship with 400 passengers ran aground near cebu in a marked sealane  within sight of the peir. im betting the captain will not go to prison. green peace rainbow warrior ran aground at tubbataha reef paid 4000 find and sailed off into the sunset.america has to grovel pay a large sum of money but still isnt good enough for the people who have their hands out when they receive foreign aid. and military what we have is called a double standard, and no way do you respect your own with 70 percent of the reefs destroyed

  • DakuAkongUtin

    Wow, kinakalawang na  . Ganon ka bilis ang deterioration sa barko vs salt water.

  • disqusted0fu

    The damage has been done, but the appropriate punishment and compensation has yet to be set. The Aquino administration doesn’t seem to care about the country, they only care about their own personal interests.

    • Joe Kano

      Then again, perhaps it’s simply still too early too decide such matters, and you should just simmer down for now because more important things are happening.

      • disqusted0fu

        I guess you are right. There are a lot of more important things to attend to like making sure that the PCOS machines are perfectly sound before the elections. Or like the recent findings of COA re PCSO anomalies in 2011. The Aquino administration should take care of these things because they claim that transparency and anti corruption is supposedly their bread and butter.

  • joboni96

    ang imperyalistang u.s.

    gustong labas masok lang
    sa maritime territory ng pilipinas

    yan ang imperialist freedom of navigation
    na gusto nila sa buong mundo

    nagpapasok na rin sila ng mga agents nila
    sa mga sensitive positions

    both in government and private sector
    in support of their imperialist recolonization program

    huliin na ang crew at
    kompiskahin ang barko na iyan

    like the poaching intsik switiks

    then pagbayarin ng damages

    to be used for restoration costs
    by pilipino experts

    • Crazy_horse101010

      here where i live manila is the imperialist.this is in your own country. 

      • joboni96

        praning  pa rin

      • Crazy_horse101010

        at least you original hee heee hee so long bigot

    • BIGButo

      Do not worry the US will take care of the damage to the reef along with nature after the recolonization program has been implemented. Be sure to let all the communist leftist know that the time is coming soon that the Philippines will soon be a very prosperous nation after the recolonization process. It will be great to once again be a colony of the US instead of china

      • joboni96

        mayaman ang pilipinas

        kahit plinunder ng imperyalistang u.s.

        yumayaman na naman
        walang pera ang u.s.

        kaya gustong bumalik

    • BIGButo

      Joboni96 you spread to much propaganda and your history is very bad. I hope you did not spend to much money on your history classes.

  • joboni96


    imperialist u.s. radar installation
    sa mindanao or palawan

    di makakapasok si col pinoy dyan

    target ng intsik switik irbm

    • Crazy_horse101010

      still crying i see i told the navy you were coming to arrest them.they were disappointed that you never showed up. they were going  to give you a warm welcome. what happened the chinese road map have bad directions on it, you know how chinese products are cheap

      • joboni96

        praning pa rin

      • BIGButo

        leftist propagandist joboni96  

      • joboni96

        traydor na naman

        maglaba ka na nga lang

      • giltor

        Horse hockey!

    • BIGButo

      It will be good when the radar is installed that way it will be easer to keep an eye on the leftist and the communist traders. 

      • Rodolfo

        Damned good when the powerful radar is installed ! matter of fact,  the Grounding of the USS Guardian is actually a ” blessing in disguise “. unfortunately, no one really comprehend the ” PICTURE ” emotion runs but not the brain !

      • joboni96

        sa mga collaborator na tulad mo
        blessing in disguise

        hindi sa aming mga pilipino

      • joboni96

        yan ang kaasamasam
        ng imperyalistang u.s.

        na di mangyayari

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