'Crising' delays further salvage ops in Tubbataha

Posted at 02/20/13 4:55 PM

MANILA - Tropical depression Crising has taken a toll on the salvage operations for USS Guardian, a minesweeper that ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef in Palawan last Jan. 17 after a port call in Subic Bay.

Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard-Palawan District, said crane ship Jascon 25 could not commence operations due to turbulence arising from the weather disturbance.

Evangelista said Jascon 25 returned to Tubbataha Reef last Tuesday morning after loading equipment and personnel from a smaller crane ship, Smit Borneo, in Puerto Princesa City last Monday.

Evangelista said the Jascon 25 prepositioned at the Tubbataha Reef in preparation for the salvage operations on Wednesday morning. "It tested its dynamic positioning system which was okay," he said

However, Evangelista said the crane ship decided to cease the operations on the afternoon as it experienced "very rough seas and strong wings."

"There is still no salvage activity (at present) due to the unfavorable weather and sea condition in the area…They (salvors) did not push through with the salvage operations for safety reasons," the official said.

He said the crane ship will be on "stand down and wait for the weather to settle…There will no be activity until the weather improves."

"They (salvors) will resume operations as soon as the weather condition improves."

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Crising has left one person died and injured four others. The lone fatality, Francisco Digaynon, drowned in New Bataan, COmpostela Valley.

The NDRRMC also disclosed that Crising has affected 16,730 families or 59,634 persons. Of the number, it said 735 families or 3,568 persons are housed in seven evacuation centers.