BFAR to send divers to Tubbataha
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is sending its own divers to Tubbataha Reef to check on the extent of damage after a U.S. Navy ship ran aground, destroying the famous coral reefs.
The BFAR said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) could use the expertise of the agency in assessing the damage.
Earlier, fears mounted over the extent of destruction to marine resources in Tubbataha, which has been named a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
The USS Guardian ran aground the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea on Thursday last week, and a US Navy team is still conducting operations to free the ship.
US officials said in a statement on Saturday that “every effort is being made to ensure the safety of the coral reef.”
“The full extent of any damage to the reef cannot be determined until the ship is freed from the reef. There are no reports of leaking of fuel or oil from the ship,” the US embassy said.
At least 10 meters of coral at approximately 80 miles east-southern of Palawan have been damaged by the 68-meter USS Guardian. -- Report from ANC