To prevent more damage to the Tubbataha Reef, the U.S. Navy says it must cut their grounded minesweeper in to pieces to remove it. The original plan was to lift the USS Guardian off the reef in one piece.
"We will strip it out beforehand. We'll work to salvage any parts that can be salvaged," said U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Anthony Falvo.
The 1,312-ton vessel has been stuck since January 17. Initially only the bow was on the reef, but last week Navy officials said waves had pushed the ship further onto the reef. "It's got hull penetrations in several places, and there is a significant amount of water inside the ship," Rear Adm. Tom Carney said at the time. "The ship cannot move on its own, and it is not operational.”
The accident remains under investigation.
The Philippines government plans to request compensation for damage to 10,760 square feet of reef. “It's a damage to a world heritage site. It's a damage to our natural resources. It's a damage to an important site. We cannot but put emphasis on the importance of this reef as a heritage site," said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
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