The Philippine Coast Guard said Tuesday that a Chinese fishing vessel has run aground on the Tubbataha Reef, just ten days after the final section of the former USS Guardian was removed.
According to a report by the Tubbataha Management Office, the Chinese-flagged fishing vessel ran aground along the northern part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site late Monday night.
Authorities dispatched a search and rescue vessel Tuesday to assess the situation, including the condition of the vessel. The 12 crewmembers on board, all said to be Chinese nationals, were transferred to the SAR vessel and will be turned over to the National Committee on Illegal Entrants in Palawan.
Tubbataha Reef is the same site where the USS Guardian ran aground on January 17 after having just completed a port call at Subic Bay in the Philippines. The final section of the Guardian was removed March 30 following an intense salvage operation that included cutting the ship up and removing it in sections.
On Monday, it was announced that the U.S. Navy was fined US$1.5 million for damage to the reef, only a small percentage of the total cost of the salvage operation which cost American taxpayers $45 million, according to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.