Task Force sa salvage operation sa Tubbataha Reef, binuo
ISANG Task Force ang binuo sa pangunguna ng Coast Guard kasama ang mga unit na magmumula sa Navy Western Command, PNP, at DENR para sa patuloy na salvage operations, mag-monitor at magdala ng sasakyang pandagat at search and rescue operations sa Tubbataha Reef.
Nauna rito, kapwa nagpunta naman ng Puerto Prinsesa sina General Eduardo Oban Jr. at Commandant Admiral (Rodolfo) Isorena para personal na alamin ang situwasyon doon.
Sa press briefing sa Malakanyang, sinabi ni Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya na mahalagang matukoy ang tunay na kaganapan doon dahil dito ibabatay ng pamahalaan ang kanilang magiging aksyon.
Binigyang diin pa ng Kalihim na naging mahigpit ang direktiba ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino na tiyakin na minimal lamang ang damage ng pagsadsad ng the USS Guardian sa Tubbataha Reef sa Sulu Sea.
“For the salvage operations, we will get the plans of the US Navy and we will likewise be abreast of every plan and detail that will be conducted and implemented. Foremost in these salvage operations, meaning getting the ship out of the reef, is that the procedure should cause the minimum of damage to reef or no additional further damage to the reef. I think that is clear to our forces and likewise clear to our counterparts in the US Navy,” ani Abaya.
“We’ll find out the details here and roughly the procedures would be: an assessment will be made; then, defueling will first be conducted, meaning aalisin ‘yung krudo na nasa loob ng barko, so as when we pull out the ship or even lift the ship we reduce the oil spillage to a minimum. While defueling, oil spill booms will be laid out such that when you move (the ship) if ever there’s a leak, it won’t spill out or cause further damage,” sabi ng kalihim.
Sa ngayon, ang agarang concern sa ilalim ng mandato ng DOTC ay maritime environmental protection.
Direktang nakikipag-ugnayan naman ang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa kanilang US Navy counterparts.
Sa katunayan ay nagkausap na sina Sec. Abaya at commander of Naval Forces West, Commodore Rustom Peña hinggil sa bagay na ito.
“He informed me that the assessment team of the US Navy is already in the country. They were awaiting clearance of the weather before the assessment team could go aboard the USS Guardian basically to assess what should be done in order to plan out the salvage operations. The vessel is currently broached meaning it is parallel to the reef and heavily grounded. Heavily grounded meaning it is quite stable there because both its front part—the bow and the rear part, the stern—are basically in contact with the reef. So the probability of moving and damaging further parts of the reef is basically brought to a minimum,” aniya pa rin.
Samantala, wala pa naman siyang nakukuhang ulat na mayroon nang oil leaks o oil spill mula sa USS Guardian.
“After such defueling, repairs shall be conducted in order to limit or make it possible that the ship will be refloated. So, if there are any repairs to be done, it will be conducted. Eventually, it will be dewatered. You pump out water again so eventually the ship will hopefully float again. And Commodore Peña made mention of the information or the possibility of bringing in a heavy-lifting ship, meaning it has a 1,000-ton capacity crane that, if the ship couldn’t be tugged anymore, it will be literally lifted by a ship and put onboard another ship. So, for the meantime, those are the latest updates that we could give you as regards the USS Guardian,” ani Sec. Abaya.