Salvage teams deployed by the US Navy on Friday have successfully removed all the diesel fuel from the tanks of the USS Guardian (MCM-5), still stuck at Tubbataha Reef, Sulu Sea
A US Navy 7th Fleet statement added the recovered 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel were transferred into the Malaysian tug M/T Vos Apollo, a salvage ton contracted by the US Navy.
De-fuelling operations started Thursday and its completion mean the start of the retrieval of the stricken ship.
“To prevent potential environmental damage, a U.S. Navy-led salvage team on Jan. 25 completed removing all diesel fuel from the tanks of the mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian, which ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef one week earlier.”
Rear Adm. Thomas Carney, the on-scene commander of the salvage operation, stressed: “One of our priorities was to get the fuel out of the ship in order to minimize environmental damage.”
Salvage teams are still awaiting the arrival of two heavy lift ship-borne cranes from Singapore, USN personnel will continue to retrieve and transfer weapons and hazardous materials from the stranded minesweeper to another USN ship.