MANILA - The United States Navy said it has no option left but to cut into pieces its minesweeper currently stuck in Tubbataha Reef.
ABC Otus News quoted US Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Darryn James as saying that the USS Guardian, which ran aground in the World Heritage site on January 17, is already “badly damaged.”
He said that “after a full review of all possible alternatives, our only viable option is to dismantle the damaged ship and remove it in sections."
The US Navy earlier just toyed with the idea of breaking up the ship.
This option was arrived at because of the sea conditions that hampered the US Navy’s plan to tow the ship.
The process is expected to take a month, he said.
“We are developing a thoughtful and deliberate plan to safely remove individual sections of the ship without causing the release of harmful materials,” he said.
Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista of the Philippine Coastguard confirmed the dismantling of the ship was one of the options relayed to them.
A formal presentation of those options will be done within the day. The Philippine Coast Guard will have to approve the salvage plan that the US Navy will implement.
Evangelista said they will approve a plan that will not be detrimental to the Tubbataha.