It could be up to two more weeks before the USS Guardian is moved from where it ran aground on the environmentally-sensitive Tubbataha Reef near the Philippines, according to the Stars and Stripes.
At a news conference Thursday, Rear Adm. Thomas Carney, commander of the Navy's Logistics Group in the Western Pacific, said the ship has been damaged to such an extent that it is now reportedly taking on water:
“[The Guardian] will have to be lifted off onto another ship or barge to leave the area...
"Right now, the ship could not maneuver on its own and is not operational… The ship is too badly damaged [to be towed] unfortunately.”
The Associated Press quotes Carney as saying it could take the Navy as many as two weeks to remove heavy equipment from the Guardian so the ship can be light enough to loaded on another vessel.
Despite the damage to the Guardian, there have been no reports of fuel leaks. Philippine Coast Guard Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena told the Philippine Star newspaper:
"Its fuel tanks... appear to be intact."
As Home Post previously reported, the Guardian ran aground on Tubbataha Reef the morning of January 17 while transiting the Sulu Sea, approximately 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island.