Navy: USS Guardian Must Be Cut Into Pieces For Removal

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Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command (WESCOM)

USS Guardian aground on Tubbataha Reef.

Navy officials say the USS Guardian must be cut into pieces in order for it to be removed from the coral reef where it ran aground January 17.

Lt. Anthony Falvo, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet, wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes:

“Our naval architecture and salvage experts have reviewed all possible alternatives, and our only supportable option is to dismantle the damaged ship and remove it in sections."

The Philippine Star reports the U.S. Navy's proposal to scrap the Guardian still needs approval from Joint Task Force Tubbataha, headed by Philippines Department of Transportation and Communication Undersecretary Eduardo Oban, Jr.

The Stars and Stripes reports the process of dismantling the Guardian could take more than a month to complete.

Most of the 79 crew members of the Guardian have returned home to their families in Sasebo, Japan.

As Home Post has previously reported, the Guardian ran aground on the environmentally-sensitive Tubbataha Reef while transiting the Sulu Sea, approximately 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island.