Removal of grounded USS Guardian now complete – PCG

March 31, 2013 10:41 am 

MANILA, March 30 – Salvage efforts for the remains of the ex-USS Guardian was finally completed as US Navy salvors finally cut and lifted off the stern (rearmost part of the ship) Saturday afternoon, Philippine officials said.

"The stern was lifted around 1: 50 p.m.," Philippine Coast Guard Palawan District head Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista said.

With the removal of the last part of the US minesweeper, the salvage operation for the USS Guardian, which ran aground last Jan. 17, is now officially complete.

"(With this complete) the second phase which is the assessment and recovery phase (for the damaged reef) begins," he added.

Around 1,000 square meters of the Tubbataha Reef was damaged in the grounding.

Last Good Friday, US Navy salvors cut and lifted the USS Guardian's "main motor room."

The more than 200-ton section was lifted around 2 p.m. and placed aboard a waiting barge.

The MMR was originally scheduled for cutting and lifting this Black Saturday.

"The MMR was lifted 2 p.m, (Good Friday) and today's target and next milestone of the salvage operation is the lifting of the stern section, the last major part of the ex-USS Guardian at its grounding site in Tubbataha Reef, " he added.

Early this Holy Week, two sections of the US minesweeper, weighing over 400 tons, were cut and lifted by the US salvors.

These sections are the bow and "auxiliary motor room." (PNA)

HBC/PFN

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