PCG to start dismantling USS Guardian

By Evelyn Macairan, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 26 2013 07:20 AM | Updated as of Feb 26 2013 03:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Forty days after it ran aground, the salvors who will remove the USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef will begin cutting the US Navy warship into pieces, an official of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said yesterday.

PCG Palawan district commander Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista said that, weather permiting, they will start dismantling the 68-meter ship today.

“We are scheduling the cutting and lifting of major parts of the ship like the mast tomorrow, and the funnel on Wednesday,” Evangelista said yesterday. “But all of these activities are subject to the weather condition. Safety is our primary consideration.”

As of yesterday, the sea condition was rough to moderate, with waves up to one meter in height.

“As per weather forecast, conditions are expected to improve today and the following days,” said Evangelista, who heads the Tubbataha Task Force.

He said the salvors would be using power tools to cut off the mast from the ship, which ran aground at the atoll last Jan. 17.

The mast would then be lifted via crane by the M/T Jascon 25 and placed on board the ship or one of the support vessels, the Archon Tide.

The Archon Tide would then bring the mast to a smaller crane ship, SMIT Borneo, which would transfer it to the waiting barge S-7000.

Earlier, small- and medium-sized equipment from the USS Guardian had been removed by crane.