Crane ship starts salvage work on Tubbataha

A giant crane ship has arrived at the Tubbataha Reef and operations to remove the USS Guardian stuck in the marine sanctuary will start today, according to Commodore Efren Evangelista, Commander of the Philippine Coast Guard.

He said the salvage ship Jascon-25 arrived at Puerto Princes on Saturday night and proceeded to Tubbataha after going through inspection and documentation at the Bureau of Customs.

“The operation to remove the Guardian will start tomorrow, Monday. That’s part of the overall plan,” Evangelista said.

The US navy sent Jascon-25 after abandoning initial plans to lift the whole ship by crane, which would cause more damage to the coral reefs, a World Heritage Site. Jascon-25 would cut the ship to pieces and the junks would be transported out of the area.

The USS Guardian, a minesweeper, ran aground at Tubataha last January 17 after ignoring warnings from park rangers. At least 4,000 square meters of coral reefs were damaged.

Evangelista said the Jascon-25 was getting in position and by Monday the equipment needed for the operation will be transferred to it from Sit Borneo, a crane barge now in the area.

The US government has promised to pay for the damages, but it still cannot offer an explanation why its ship was sailing on prohibited territory. Also, the captain and crew of the ship were whisked away to Saebo, Japan after the grounding to avoid legal responsibility from the Philippine government.

See original post.