Another crane ship to arrive for USS Guardian salvage operations-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
MANILA -- Another crane ship is expected to arrive for the salvage operations of the USS Guardian that ran aground on Tubbataha Reef last month.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Jascon-25, the Gibraltar-flagged crane ship, which will come from Singapore, is expected to arrive at Puerto Princesa around 11 p.m. of Saturday.
The said vessel will undergo the regular quarantine and customs procedure before proceeding to its operations, the agency added.
PCG Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena said Jascon-25 is currently experiencing headwinds and sea state that are impacting on its transit speed with the gale level reaching up to five feet and with the speed reaching to 18 knots per hour.
The salvaging operations for the stranded minesweeper are temporarily suspended as rough condition continues to affect the area, according to the PCG.
But while waiting for Jascon-25's arrival, the salvage team alongside with Task Force Tubbataha will continue to monitor the weather condition and to support highline and small boat operations to remove debris and equipment if weather permits, Isorena said.
"Priority remains effective salvage planning and safety of personnel as well as we will continuously evaluate weather conditions and execute salvage operations within the bounds of safety," said Isorena.
The PCG along with the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) earlier approved the salvage operations plan submitted by the US Navy that will use floating cranes to methodically remove the stranded minesweeper.
PCG Palawan district chief Commodore Enrico Evangelista said the anchoring "will take some time to assure that it will land at the correct spot not hitting the reef but the sandy bottom."
In an earlier statement, the DOTC said under the US Navy's salvage operations plan, the stranded minesweeper will be cut in pieces before vertically extracting from the site.
"The complex and methodical salvage operations will last until next month unless weather condition within the Tubbataha reef changes that would delay the plan," the DOTC said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine government said the United States has assured its full cooperation in the salvaging of the USS Guardian as well as in the investigation of the grounding incident.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) the US also "stands ready" to fully and appropriately provide compensation for all damages caused by the grounding incident.
"Secretary (John) Kerry said that he himself wants to know and get to the bottom of what truly happened. In this context he said that he wants to be a full partner of the Philippines in finding out what happened and that the US government will cooperate fully with the investigation that the Philippines is conducting," Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario said in a statement.
Kerry, a former senator, is the new US Secretary of State. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)