All other parts of the US Navy Minesweeper named USS Guardian have already been cut and loaded onto a salvage vessel. This week the ship’s bow was likewise cut, lifted and loaded into waiting salvage vessel and by Monday it is expected that fine weather would occur to help remove the rest of the ship, Tubbataha Reef marine park superintendent Angelique Songco said.
Songco communicated to AFP that if work continue, hopefully all salvaging would be done by April 1
The 68-meter minesweeper got stuck on Tubbataha Reef in Sulu Sea on January 17, destroying a portion of reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site popular for its rich marine life.
Filipinos were not happy about the sad incident despite the US government offer of apology. National Park guards were fully aware of the impending danger and so gave ample warning for the ship not to proceed, but the American Navy ship totally ignored the distress signal and blamed instead their use of faulty navigational aids. The Philippines said it would impose fines.
Scrapping and dismantling the reef-stuck US Navy minesweeper which was worth $277 million was the final word. It was the final decision, with the US government agreeing to the presumption that towing it to deeper waters would do further harm on the reef.
Photographs by the US Navy on Wednesday showed the ship’s front section hanging by crane cables above the water, part of its wooden hull and its metal innards facing the camera.
Salvage vessel Salvors began salvaging work on February 26, but rough seas prevented them from meeting March 23 target date to complete their work.
Songco said US and Filipino divers would assess the extent of the reef damage after the last piece of the stuck vessel is removed.
The US Navy could face a multi-million-dollar fine for damaging corals under the 2010 Tubbataha Law, said Gregg Yan, spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund Philippines.
The WWF assists the government manage Tubbataha.
Source: US Navy ship set to be lifted from Philippine reef