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Salvage of grounded US ship faces delay

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

The removal of the USS Guardian from the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea may not be completed by March 23 as planned, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

Lt. Cmdr Armand Balilo on Thursday said that while the weather in the reef area has been very good and the ship dismantling operation was progressing, the PCG did not “discount the possibility that the March 23 deadline for the removal of the USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef may be extended.”

Balilo said that “aside from the changing weather conditions in the Sulu Sea, the salvage team is also considering the structural integrity of the ship, as well as newly discovered obstacles in dismantling the Guardian’s superstructure.” He did not elaborate.

Citing a report from the PCG team monitoring the Tubbataha Reef operation, he said that on Thursday there was very limited crane operations and transfer of equipment from the Guardian to the salvage ships.

“The bulk of the work is on the preparation of levels 1 and 2 for lifting. The initial lifting of level 2 will be made on March 2 while the lifting of level 1 will follow,” he explained.

Balilo added that “additional personnel who specialize in ship cutting will be brought in by SMIT (the salvage firm) for the cutting of the ship’s hull.”

Early this week, the dismantling of the Guardian resumed with the removal of the vessel’s mast and funnel by the crane ship Jascon 25, which the PCG said was the main vessel tasked with dismantling the grounded US Navy ship.

Aside from the Guardian and the Jascon 25, nine other vessels were in the vicinity, either involved in or observing the operations, including the PCG’s search-and-rescue ship, the BRP Pampanga.

The 68-meter US Navy minesweeper ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef, a Unesco-designated World Heritage Site, on Jan. 17 while on its way to Indonesia.


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  • giltor

    IT LOOKS LIKE THE USS GUARDIAN WAS DELIBERATELY GROUNDED SO IT COULD NOT BE EASILY EXTRICATED UNTIL THE MISSION OF MONITORING SHIPS MOVEMENT IN THE SULU SEA IS OVER.

    KICK OUT ALL FOREIGN SHIPS IN TUBBATAHA!

    • Crazy_horse101010

      haw haw haw

      • giltor

        hey horse hockey,

        haw haw haw yourself!

        You’re imagining two posts with your own duo’s.

        Look again, there’s only one post with your two stupid replies.

        You’re a bi-polar with multiple personalities and still continue impersonating some persona that you are not.

        I’ve got your number, remember? If you dont’t still get it, I’ll say you’re real slow. Aren’t you?

        Never mind the ‘love you’! Oh I got it – you’re ac/dc too, if you get the drift.

    • Crazy_horse101010

      hey wee wee breath i see you are still showing your stupidity again. lets hear some more of your lies.  love you tata

    • BIGButo

      That is a crazy assumption. No one would deliberately ground a 277 million dollar ship to monitor ship movements. That could be done while being underway with aircraft or several other ways not by sitting on a reef, that’s ridiculous

      • giltor

        Then you might not be aware of USNS Glomar Explorer.

        Or the sacrifice of bigger USS Maine (ACR-1), to imflame the public and inspire the clamor for war.

        Or the RMS Lusitania!

        NO SACRIFICE TOO GREAT for some mad for power or . . .a base in Mindanao perhaps if the BANGSA pact is scuttled by the current events.

        Who knows what THEY’re thinking.



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