USS GUARDIAN AGROUND UPDATE:
|U.S. Navy Photo by Petty Officer Geoffery Trudell|
The first of two crane ships the SMIT BORNEO a Dutch owned merchant vessel arrived at Palawan this weekend and was clearing customs for Philippine waters. She may be on scene as we publish this. The SMIT BORNEO is the first of two crane ships arranged for by Naval salvors. No estimated time of arrival on scene has been announced for the second crane ship. Ships on scene presently include; USS MUSTIN (DDG 89) a destroyer useful for site security , housing temporary personnel, hosting command and communications functions, but definitely not designed as a salvage vessel, USNS BOWDITCH a U.S.Navy owned, civilian (Merchant Marine) manned specialized salvage vessel, USNS SALVOR similar to the BOWDITCH, the M/V Trabajador (ownership and type not identified) and the Malaysian tug NOS APOLLO.
The salvage plan calls for the cutting up of the GUARDIAN on scene and then transport of the pieces away from the reef. The vessels already on scene have transferred off of the USS Guardian all fuel and lube oils, human waste (and other "grey water'), and hazardous materials. The Guardian is ready for the cutter's torches. However the job is estimated to take a month or more and there is already concern for a looming weather imposed delay. There is still grave danger of the GUARDIAN or pieces of the GUARDIAN sinking on the reef and causing more mechanical damage to the slow healing coral. So far the United States has agreed to $100,000 in damages to the coral, but that is not a final figure, nor is the damage estimation completed nor can it be until the Guardian is salvaged.