Senate probe sought on stuck US Navy ship-A A +A
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
MANILA -- Senator Loren Legarda filed a resolution on Monday seeking to investigate the grounding of a US minesweeper in the Tubbataha Reefs and know the extent of damage arising from last week's incident.
Under Senate Resolution 928 released to media on Wednesday, Legarda said the planned probe by the committee on foreign relations she chairs will help strengthen existing mechanisms to prevent similar incidents in the future.
The government earlier said it would file claims for damages after reports indicate that at least 10 linear meters of the world-famous natural park--home to some endangered marine species--may have been grazed by the USS Guardian.
The US Navy, which is operating the ship supposedly bound for Indonesia after a port call in Subic, is already mapping out plans how to get the 68-meter vessel out of the reef. It had also apologized for the incident, blaming a faulty navigation system that allegedly misplaced the reef on its map.
"This incident highlights the need to ensure full protection of the Philippines' marine resources by all vessels, foreign or domestic, within territorial waters amidst geo-political developments in the region," said Legarda.
The Tubbataha management office earlier said the ship entered the protected area without permission and failed to coordinate with environmental officials. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)