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Reference beacons placed near crippled USS Guardian in Tubbataha Reef


Salvage operations for the stranded US minesweeper USS Guardian in Tubbataha Reef have resumed once more as fair weather conditions finally enabled the crane ship tasked to help in the process stabilize their position near the grounded ship.
The crewmembers of the crane ship tasked to help in salvage work on the grounded minesweeper USS Guardian have placed reference beacons near the crippled vessel.
 
The Philippine Coast Guard said the JASCON 25 crew are prepared to work even at night to speed up the salvage operation, radio dzBB's Mao dela Cruz reported on Saturday.
 
Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo said 12 salvage technicians also managed to get near the USS Guardian.
 
Balilo said they are maintaining a target date of March 23 to complete the salvage operations, but admitted this will still depend on weather conditions in the area.
 
According to a report by the Philippine News Agency, Balilo on Friday said the Jascon 25 and its crewmen have secured the position near the USS Guardian. The report noted that big waves, poor visibility, and bad weather conditions hampered the salvage operations as these factors threatened the safety of the appointed crew. Tropical Depression Crising, which exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Thursday night, delayed the efforts for the Jascon 25 to secure its position and dismantle the USS Guardian, whose initial salvage timetable indicates March 23 as the estimated date of work completion. Back in Japan Meanwhile, a CNN report on Friday noted that the USS Guardian crew went back to Sasebo Naval Base in Japan, the ship’s home port, where they will all remain together until the probe on the incident is completed. U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Cecil Haney was also quoted in the story as praising the ship’s crew for avoiding loss of life when the USS Guardian ran aground the Tubbataha Reef on Jan. 17. "From the point on which the ship grounded, the crew worked quite diligently, quite frankly. But even more importantly, they got all 79 of their crew members off that ship and safely back here to Japan," Haney said in an interview with the US Armed Forces Network. "They've gone through quite a bit, but it shows you the resiliency of our sailors," he added. - Gian C. Geronimo, VVP, GMA News