MANILA – Two American nationals were rescued on Thursday after their yacht ran aground near Tubbataha Reef, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.
PCG spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Armando Balilo said American nationals Linda McKiever, 60; and Rene Menz, 47, were rescued by fishermen from their grounded yacht S.V. Creola some 47 nautical miles southwest of Tubbataha Reef's south islet.
The PCG has already placed the two Americans under its custody, while an investigation is being conducted.
On January 17, 2013, a US minesweeper USS Guardian ran aground on Tubbataha, damaging about two hectares of coral reef.
The Philippines asked for P58 million in compensation from the US Navy, but the payment has yet to be settled.
On April 8 last year, about three months later, a Chinese fishing vessel ran aground the protected reef, damaging 4,000 square meters of centuries-old coral.
Authorities also found hundreds of dead pangolins, an internationally-protected species, hidden inside the vessel. Twelve Chinese fishermen were detained for the destruction. – with a report from Dexter Ganibe, dzMM