The United States government has paid the Philippines $1.96 million in damages for the grounding of the USS Guardian on the protected Tubbataha Reef in January 2013.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines says it received the full requested amount of Php 87,033,570.71 in January as compensation for damages caused by the grounding. The compensation will be used for the protection and rehabilitation of the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Department said. Portions of the funds will also be used to enhance the country’s capability to monitor the area and prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future, according to the Department.
The USS Guardian, an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship, ran aground on the reef in the central Philippines on January 17, 2013, resulting in the total loss of the ship and extensive damage to the protected reef. The ship was eventually deemed beyond repair and was cut up and removed from the reef in an operation that lasted several months.
A U.S. Navy investigation into the grounding revealed a lack of leadership and situational awareness, leading to three of the ship’s senior officers being relieved of duty.
Damage to the reef has been estimated to be approximately 2,346 square meters.
In addition to the compensation, the Philippines says that the U.S. government is also providing additional assistance to the Philippine Coast Guard to upgrade the PCG Substation in Tubbataha.
(1 Philippine Peso = 0.023 US Dollar)