The USS Guardian, a 68-meter, worth $277 million US Navy minesweeper with its motto, Forerunner of Freedom, is now free from Tubbataha Reef after it was cut into pieces, lifted and loaded onto salvage vessels
On the options presented on how to extract the ill-fated ship, authorities concerned finally agreed on salvaging it to lessen the damage on the UNESCO World Heritage protected site, the Philippines’ Tubbataha Reef.
Hectic salvaging and dismantling work was begun with deadlines set and unmet due mainly to furious and rampaging rough seas, however, with firm dedication and determination, the collaborative effort from the salvage teams triumph over adversities with the final section of the hull, the approximately 250-ton stern, was safely lifted from reef by the salvage vessel Jascon 25 on Saturday.
With the hull removed, the team is now shifting their effort to collecting minor debris that remains on the reef.
A joint Philippines-US team, according to Supervisor of Salvage Capt. Mark Matthews, begins to assess the condition of the reef.
“Every salvage operation presents unique challenges. It has been difficult to extract the Guardian without causing further damage to the reef, but the U.S. Navy and SMIT salvage team with support from other companies and the government of the Philippines have really done a superb job. I could not be more proud,” Matthews said.
After 73 agonizing days, the USS Guardian was finally set free from Tubbataha Reef. The US Navy Minesweeper got stuck on the reef at 2.25 a.m. on Thursday, January 17, 2013 after a port call and fuel stop from Subic Bay, Philippines enroute to Indonesia
Source: Final piece of grounded USS Guardian lifted from Philippine reef