The Navy has determined that 23-year old 'USS Guardian' will be dismantled & removed in sections from the reef.
"Guardian is badly damaged and with the deteriorating integrity of the ship, the weight involved, and where it is grounded on the reef, dismantling in sections is the only supportable option," said Capt. Darryn James, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman. "We have the right team of experienced professionals to conduct this complex operation and to ensure that it is done safely while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment."
The first Navy contracted floating crane from Singapore is due to arrive in the next few days, and then the dismantling operation will take more than one month. The Navy has presented a dismantling plan to the Philippine Coast Guard that maintains the floating cranes necessary for this operation in deeper water in order to minimize coral damage to Tubbataha Reef.
Since Guardian's grounding, the Navy has been working meticulously to salvage any reusable equipment, retrieve the crew's personal effects, and remove any potentially harmful materials including petroleum-based products and human wastewater. USS Mustin (DDG 89), USNS Bowditch, M/V Trabajador, USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) and the Malaysian tug VOS Apollo remain on scene supporting the salvage operation.
There were no injuries when Guardian ran aground Jan. 17 following a port visit to Subic Bay while in transit to Indonesia. Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet has ordered an investigation to assess the circumstances and facts surrounding the grounding.