The U.S. Navy-contracted Malaysian tug Vos Apollo seen removing fuel and human wastewater from the mine countermeasure ship USS Guardian, which ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea on Jan. 17. US Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy-contracted Malaysian tug Vos Apollo seen removing fuel and human wastewater from the mine countermeasure ship USS Guardian, which ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea on Jan. 17. US Navy Photo

The operation to remove the stricken USS Guardian from a Philippine reef has suffered yet another set back this week as the crane barge to be used in the salvage has been unable to securely anchor at the wreck site.

The crane barge, SMIT Borneo, arrived off the coast of Palawan province in the Philippines on February 3rd from Singapore but has so far has been unable to safely anchor three of its four mooring legs near the reef, the website Stars and Stripes reports. New plans call for the arrival of a more capable vessel with a more capable crane, the DP-3 equipped Jascon 25, which is expected to arrive Saturday, the report added.

“We have known the salvage operation would be a dynamic operation from the beginning,” Navy spokesman Lt. Frederick Martin told Stars and Stripes via email Tuesday. “This is a dynamic environment where weather and sea states can change quickly, so it would be speculative to discuss specific time lines on the dismantling process.

“While the inability of the Smit Borneo to be moored affects the plan, we are adjusting our operations accordingly, including bringing in the second crane, Jascon 25, earlier than originally planned. Jascon 25 is already underway and moving toward the site.”

As gCaptain has reported, the operation to remove the Guardian from the Tubbataha Reef involves cutting up the ship and removing it in sections.

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.

Previous USS Guardian updates can be found HERE.

Sea Trucks Group's pipelay construction vessel, Jascon 25.

Sea Trucks Group’s pipelay construction vessel, Jascon 25.

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