MANILA – As US efforts to extricate the USS Guardian (MCM-5) off Tubbataha Reef intensify, the Philippine Navy yesterday said three of its ships and one of the Coast Guards is now at the site to provide assistance should the Americans ask for it.
Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Favic, acting PN spokesperson, said that Navy assets in the area include BRP Rizal (PS-74), BRP Mangyan (AS-71), BRP Ismael Lumibao (PG-383) and the Coast Guard's BRP Corregidor (AE-891).
He added that both the BRP Mangyan and BRP Corregidor arrived in the area late Saturday.
Favic said that both ships are equipped with anti-spill booms which can be used should an oil spill will occur.
But for the moment, no oil spill is taking place, the PN spokesperson said.
He added three US support vessels and tugboats are also present.
He pointed out that the US has yet to request assistance from the Philippine Navy.
Favic said the crewmembers of these ships are now studying the best way to re-float the USS Guardian with less damage to the environment.
The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship had just completed a port call in Subic Bay and was en route to Indonesia and then on to Timor-Leste to participate in a training exercise when the grounding occurred Jan. 17.
The USS Guardian remains stuck on Tubbataha Reef, approximately 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island.*PNA
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