Crew members of the USS Guardian, which ran aground off the coast of the Philippines on January 17, have returned to their homeport of Sasebo, Japan.
Meanwhile, U.S. Navy salvage experts are in the process of removing "potentially harmful" materials from the Guardian with the hopes the ship will soon be removed from where it's been stuck on Tubbataha Reef for almost two weeks.
According to a 7th Fleet news release:
The Navy has safely transferred approximately 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel; 671 gallons of lubricating oil; dry food stores; paints and solvents contained in storage lockers; and the personal effects left behind by the crew from the ship.
The Stars and Stripes reports most of the Guardian's 79 person crew have returned to Sasebo. CTF-76 commander Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harley told the military newspaper that until further notice, the Guardian crew will train for “potential assignments”:
“The salvage plan will determine the way ahead. It’s been a very special homecoming.”
As Home Post has 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.