MANILA, Philippines -- The salvage team led by the US Navy has finished removing the fuel from the tanks of the USS Guardian that ran aground at Tubbataha Reef last week.
In a statement, the US Navy 7th fleet said they have completed removing around 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel from the tanks of the stuck minesweeper and transferred them to the Malaysian tugboat Vos Apollo.
Rear Admiral Thomas Carney, the on-scene commander of the salvage operation at the reef, said they prioritized the defueling of the vessel to prevent a possible oil spill and therefore any further damage to the world heritage site.
The salvage team is now waiting for two high lifting capacity crane ships from Singapore which are set to arrive on February 1 for the extraction of the USS Guardian from the Tubbataha Reef.
On Friday, another vessel, the USS Salvor, arrived at the area to assist in ongoing salvage operations.
Authorities are eyeing to lift the damaged ship from Tubbataha. -- Report from Dennis Datu, dzMM