MANILA, Philippines - One down, three to go.
Salvors have removed one of the four parts of the wooden-made hull of the USS Guardian, the United States (US) Navy ship that ran aground in Tubbataha Reef off Palawan last Jan. 15.
Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista, PCG Palawan District commander, yesterday said the bow or forward section of the ship was successfully cut and lifted on Tuesday afternoon.
The salvors are currently working on the second part of the hull called the AMR or auxiliary machine room.
“We are focusing our efforts to finish any last-minute cleanup, complete the preliminary and final cut of the AMR section, lift the AMR section, and transfer it to the S-7000 barge,” said Evangelista.
This would be followed by the cutting and removal of the main machinery room (MMR) and the stern or rear part of the US minesweeper.
Evangelista, who heads Task Force Tubbataha, said the weather at the reef has been favorable in the past few days.
In an earlier interview, he said they had to cut through a section of the ship twice because of its thick hull.
“I do not know how thick the USS Guardian’s hull is but it has four layers of wood. Its outermost hull is made of oak wood, I just do not know what type of wood they used for the other layers of the hull,” he said.
The vessel’s wooden hull is estimated to be 68 meters long and 12 meters thick.
Evangelista said the salvors would continue dismantling the vessel even during the Holy Week.