30 January 2013

PHILIPPINES / USA : Coral Reef Stranded Navy Ship...Must Be Dismantled.

     The USA Navy...has reluctantly flared an SOS about its troubled minesweeper...the USS Guardian...stranded for 2 weeks on the protected Tubbataha coral reef in the Sulu Sea in the Philippines.
      It now says the 68 meter/224 foot ship must be dismantled...and hauled away on barges.
      The USA says the 23-year-old ship is too damaged to tow away...and is being battered by heavy seas...and destroying the sensitive reef.
      The ship's fuel and other solvents have been removed.
      The Guardian has a wood and fiberglass hull...that has been reinforced with kevlar against the sharp coral.
       It will take several weeks to dismantle the ship.
      The ship is valued at $61 million...but has a replacement cost of $277 million.
      Experts can't recall the last time the USA Navy had to dismantle a ship.
      The stranding in the World Heritage site has angered many in the Philippines.
      There have been small...but violent...protests at the USA's Manila embassy.
      The Navy now admits its charts misplaced the reef's location...by 9 miles.