MANILA, Philippines -- Damage to the Tubbataha Reef has worsened as winds and waves shoved to 90 degrees the minesweeper “USS Guardian” that ran aground Thursday.
A report from ABS-CBN News Palawan’s Edinel Magtibay said water is already seeping into the minesweeper, which supposedly initially damaged at least 10 meters of the coral reefs.
The Palawan government said it will ask the United States Navy to pay for the damages.
Palawan Governor Abraham Kahlil Mitra and the Protected Area Management Board said it will take 20 to 100 years to fix the damaged reefs, a marine sanctuary southeast of the province.
United States authorities earlier said an inaccurate navigation chart data has led to the grounding of the minesweeper.
A statement from the Pacific Fleet public affairs indicated that, “the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) today (January 19) provided preliminary findings of a review on Digital Nautical Charts (DNC) that contain inaccurate navigation data and may have been a factor in the Guardian grounding that occurred in the Sulu Sea on Jan. 17.”
Malacanang said, however, it will await a final investigation before it will disclose the government’s next move.
In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said “it will be prudent to wait for the results of the investigation that will be conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of National Defense, etc.”