USS Guardian salvage operation resumes; ship funnel, mast removed


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 FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The dismantling of the USS Guardian has resumed with the removal of the US Navy minesweeper’s mast and funnel, according to the spokesperson of the Philippine Coast Guard.

Lt. Commander Armand Balilo Tuesday night said “the removal of the ship’s mast and funnel has been accomplished.”

In a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, he also disclosed that the salvage team had started “clearing equipment below deck, removing the sonar winch at the bow, preparing the mast for lifting, relocating the reference beacons of the crane ship Jascon 25, transferring recovered items  to the tug Archon Tide, and clearing of loose materials” at the US Navy minesweeper.

The weather at Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea has been “generally very good,” Balilo said, noting “the seas are calm while the skies are clear.”

Aside from the Guardian, Jascon 25 and Archon Tide, there were eight other vessels in the vicinity–the US Navy ships Salvor, Safeguard and Wally Schirra; SMIT Borneo crane barge; tugs Intrepid and  Trabajador!; barge S-7000; and the PCG search-and-rescue ship BRP Pampanga.

The USS Guardian ran aground at the reef, a United Nations World Heritage Site, on Jan. 17 while on its way from Subic to its next port call.

The BRP Pampanga is tasked with monitoring the salvage operation being undertaken by private contractors hired by the US Navy, according to Balilo.

Last weekend, the salvage master, whom the PCG did not identify, “conducted a briefing for all concerned aboard 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,” which has reportedly reached over 1,500 square meters, Balilo added.

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  • Manuel_II

    sana binigay na lang sa pinas yan, pwedeng isalvage yan, ma diskarte ang mga pinoy, kaya nilang palutangin ulit yan, lol

  • observer1356

    PDI: [ 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,”
    which has reportedly reached over 1,500 square meters”, Balilo added. ]

    That area is just  75m X 20m which is about the area of the vessel that is about 68m x 12m plus about 4meters from all sides / ends.

    It can be argued that it took maybe million of years for the reef to have developed to what it is today. But 1,500 square meters is not so significant an area if compared to the whole area of the reef estimated at  1.3 billion square meters !! 

    Nevertheless, it’s good that the destruction of the reef caused by the incident would end soon.

    • Crazy_horse101010

      ive seen reefs that were blasted 15 years ago and they are still desert one of the problems is they keep blasting the same spots over and over again. im worried the reef where the ship is will be blasted soon they are already in palawan. yesterday in a half hour i heard dynamite going off 4 times, within sight of town. they are running out of fish and getting desperate. 

      • giltor

        horse hockey!

        Seen where? SPECIFY!

        If you can’t – that would be another of your FIBS!

      • Crazy_horse101010

        hello brain dead to bad you dont know how to use the internet or read . and do you think im going to tell where i livbe. i han=ve allready hAAD SOME YOU IDIOTS SNOOPING AROUND MY ACCOUNTS BECAUSE YOU ARE INSANE. go on the internet there is nice pictures of water shooting in the air retardo you wouldnt know the truth if it hit you in the face you just want to cry because you are a poor loser. to bad you dont know how to use google love you good bye crybaby

      • giltor

        AHA! – Now it shows that you have personality disorder called schizophrenic paranoia, with delusions of grandieur and persecutions.

        That is TOO bad for you, impersonating so many persona now – you are having a bout of split personality and bi-polar syndrome. NO CHARGE FOR CONSULTATIONS – let’s see how many ‘pisos’ have you saved.

        I’ve told you – I’ve got your number. You’re full of barbra streisand (bs). You’ve claimed TO live in a fishing village – what would those people harvest when in your own word – it’s a desert like place blasted by your imaginary dynamite!

        Did you use google or goggles in your underwater survey? You do not have to answer if you feel it is a kind of snooping to smoke you out. You’ve already had!

        btw, your manner of writing is that of an ignoramus – but that would be TOO insulting TO them.

        After this lesson of the use of TO and TOO, thanks to the letters “T” and “O” the next lesson would be the use of CAPS lock.

      • observer1356

        let’s hope they won’t do that to that area (dynamite blasting to remove the ship, i mean).. if you’re referring to dynamite fishing that’s another story – and a worse one…

  • Vertical Propulsion

    More Ships for the Philippine Navy and more radar for monitoring of coast watch

  • Rudolf Vonslatin

    “Damage to the reef”!
    It is all a racket done in order to get free money from the US taxpayers.

  • giltor

    Forget compensation – Just Return our Balangiga Bells!

    If the US could return captured war booty to Japan – flags, diaries, maps, pictures, etc and weapons like samurai swords, pistols, rifles, cannons and other destructive/offensive materiel like tanks, ships and planes used against the US forces.

    Why couldn’t Americans find in their hearts to return non-offensive religious articles to the people of Balangiga like their innocent church bells?

    Balangiga children missed their church bells and pine to hear those bells on so many past Christmas seasons. Let Balangiga hears the sound of those bells again especially during Christmas and Holy Week.

    No amount of money could repair the damage to coral reef. It is the folly of man to believe they could do it by spending money to epoxy the damage.


    No money (I could see Trump’s smile from here) for the damages to Tubbataha: JUST RETURN OUR BALANGIGA BELLS – STAT!

  • joboni96

    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

  • mutawa

    Dismantle it nicely.  Phil gov’t buys salvaged warships and that can be put to use to patrol the scarborough shoals and scare the chinese.

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