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2013 Press and Photo Releases

U.S. Embassy Statement on Removal of USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef

Manila, March 30, 2013 – Today the final piece of the ex-USS Guardian was removed from Tubbataha Reef, and the salvage operation is near completion.  We are grateful to the Philippine government – including the Coast Guard, Department of Transportation and Communications, Philippine Navy, and Tubbataha Management Office – for their leadership and assistance throughout the salvage operation. The complex, carefully coordinated operation ensured that further damage to the reef was minimized.

  Following the Guardian’s removal from the reef, a Marine Ecological Assessment will be conducted to determine the extent of the damage to the reef.  We are working with the Philippine government on this effort.

  As we have stated in the past, we regret this incident and the United States is prepared to pay compensation for the damage to the reef. In addition, the U.S. government, whose investigation of the grounding is not yet completed, is cooperating with the Philippine government's independent investigation.

  The U.S. government is taking steps to continue our longstanding commitment to coral reef preservation and the protection of the marine resources of the Philippines.  Some examples include:

  • In addition to compensation for damage, a PhP4.1 million ($100,000) grant through the United States Agency for International Development’s Philippines Coral Triangle Support Partnership (CTSP), to Western Palawan University to support coral restoration at Tubbataha Reef.  This is in addition to PhP254.2 million (US$7.2 million) in program funding contributed to protect coral reef ecosystems in the Philippines since 2007.
  • Consultations by a team from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in April with stakeholders about marine and fisheries conservation activities that will contribute to achieving Philippine commitments to the Coral Triangle Initiative National Plan of Action. 
  • A U.S. government contribution of over PhP41 million ($1 million) to establish linkages between Filipino and American scientists to conduct joint research on biodiversity and marine conservation.

   We will continue to work with our Philippine partners to help advance coral reef restoration and preservation in the Philippines.