SULU SEA (Feb. 8, 2013) The mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) sits aground on Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site. U.S. Navy  Photo

SULU SEA (Feb. 8, 2013) The mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) sits aground on Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site. U.S. Navy Photo

MANILA – Salvage operations for the removal of the stricken USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines resumed Friday as weather and sea conditions improved at the wreck site.

Heavy weather from Tropical Storm Crising stalled efforts to remove the ship from the reef and forced the heavy-lift crane barge, the JASCON-25, to leave the area. As of Friday morning the JASCON-25 was back on location and salvage operations had resumed.

In a statement, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena said that the remaining cargo, made up of mostly damaged foods and other perishable products, has already started to be unloaded from the grounded U.S. minesweeper to the tug Intrepid for disposal.

RADM Isorena added that the SMIT-Borneo salvaging team is set to place referencing beacons which will be later used by JASCON-25 to position itself as near and as possible to USS Guardian so it can operate its cranes for the lifting operations.

As reported previously, the salvage plan calls for the ship to be cut into sections and lifted from the reef.

The USS Guardian, with a crew of 80, had just completed a port call at Subic Bay in the Philippines, when the grounding occurred on January 17. The operation to remove the ship may last until April.

Full Coverage: USS GUARDIAN GROUNDING

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