USS GUARDIAN STILL FAST AGROUND ON PHILIPPINE CORAL REEF
MSC salvage ship, Malaysian tug coming to grounded ship's rescue.
|USN S SALVOR, Civilian (Merchant Marine) crewed specialized salvage ship. Photo U.S.Navy|
The Following article excerpt is By Matthew M. BurkeStars and Stripes
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The recovery of a grounded minesweeper off the coast of the Philippines is beginning to take shape as a Military Sealift Command salvage ship and a Malaysian tug are within days of reaching the USS Guardian, Navy officials said Wednesday.
The USNS Salvor is scheduled to arrive Thursday and the tug Vos Apollo is en route, Task Force Unit Guardian spokesman Lt. Cmdr. James Stockman wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes from Manila. Navy officials have not yet finalized their recovery plan, and there is no timetable for removal amid reports the ship has begun to take on water. The 255-foot Salvor dislodged the 567-foot guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal in 2009 after it ran aground on a shoal off Honolulu.
The Guardian’s crew of 79 was removed Friday as a safety precaution. Some of those sailors will soon be headed back to their homeport of Sasebo Naval Base as Navy officials continue their investigation into the grounding, said the Guardian’s ombudsman, Kimberlyn Barr.
“The extent of the damage to the ship is currently being assessed,” Stockman said. “The U.S. Navy recognizes that Tubbataha Reef is a unique and treasured environment; we are taking all precautions to ensure that the recovery plan will have minimal environmental impact.”
No one was injured when the 224-foot Avenger-class mine countermeasure ship ran aground around 2:25 a.m. on Jan. 17 on Tubbataha Reef, about 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island. The ship was transiting the Sulu Sea after a port visit in Subic Bay when its bow got stuck on the reef in the protected park and World Heritage Site.
There have been no reported fuel leaks to date, Stockman said.
To read the entire article click on this link: http://www.stripes.com/news/navy/msc-salvage-ship-malaysian-tug-coming-to-grounded-ship-s-rescue-1.204969
EDITORIAL OBSERVATION: The arrival of this professional salvage ship and crew of professional salvers is a positive development. But the weather window as we reported yesterday is closing. The USS SALVOR Should arrive on scene late on the 1/24/2013. Keep checking with us for full coverage of this story.
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