Grounded USS Guardian Will Be Cut Up and Removed in Sections
Officials have decided that the USS Guardian, a U.S. Navy minesweeper that ran aground off the Philippines two weeks ago, will have to be dismantled and removed in pieces.
The U.S. Navy finally came to the conclusion – after weighing out all other alternatives – that the only viable option to free the vessel is to cut it up and remove it in sections, an operation that will take at least one month depending on weather and environmental protection.
U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Anthony Falvo stated that the process will be completed safely while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment.
The first floating crane will arrive in the next couple of days to begin the salvage operation.
Fox News reports that the ship's hull was slashed in the accident and it has since been shifting on the reef, causing damage both to the United Nations World Heritage Site, and to the naval ship.
The Philippine Coast Guard will review the U.S. Navy’s plan. Until then, preparations for the Guardian’s removal will remain on track, as the ship is stable right now. An investigation into the cause of the grounding is also currently ongoing.
The ship, which costs $5 million per year to operate, was one of four stationed in Japan. All minesweepers, including the Guardian, are scheduled to be replaced in the coming years by Littoral Combat ships, which can be outfitted with minesweeping equipment.