Byline: Associated Press
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Workers in the southwestern Philippines have removed the last major part of a U.S. Navy minesweeper from a protected coral reef where it ran aground in January, and the damage will be assessed to determine the fine Washington will pay, officials said March 31.
A day earlier, a crane had lifted the 250-ton stern of the dismantled USS Guardian from the reef, where it accidentally got stuck Jan. 17, officials said. The reef, designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural arm, is located in the Tubbataha National Marine Park in the Sulu Sea, about 400 miles southwest of Manila.
An initial estimate showed about 4,780 square yards of coral reef was damaged by the ship grounding, and the U.S. could be facing a fine of more than $2 million.