Coast Guard eyes early April deadline for tweak in USS Guardian salvage plans
A tweak in plans may extend to early April the timetable for completing the salvage work on the grounded minesweeper USS Guardian, the Philippine Coast Guard said Thursday.
The change in plans involves cutting the hull of the crippled ship into four instead of three parts, radio dzBB's Carlo Mateo reported.
Coast Guard Palawan and Task Force Tubbataha head Commodore Enrico Evangelista was quoted in the report as saying that this would spread the ship's weight more evenly and make the removal of the parts from the reef easier.
But Evangelista said this would need at least nine continuous days of good weather. The initial plan of cutting the hull into three pieces would have required at least six days.
The longer time frame would mean the salvage work could extend to the first week of April instead of the initial March 23 deadline.
Cutting and removing the hull would be part of the last stage in salvage operations.
For now, Evangelista said they are coordinating with PAGASA to monitor the course of a low-pressure area moving toward Mindanao.
He said that if the LPA would dissolve before it reaches the Palawan area, they could go on with the salvage work.
The USS Guardian ran aground at Tubbataha Reef last Jan. 17. The Tubbataha Management Office earlier estimated that it may have damaged at least 4,000 square meters of the reef. — RSJ, GMA News