Feb 192013
Big waves and poor visibility are hounding the crew of a crane ship tasked to help in the salvage operation for the grounded US minesweeper USS Guardian, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo said the JASCON 25 is still near Tubbataha Reef but is encountering big waves and strong winds, radio dzBB’s Carlo Mateo reported.

The report quoted Balilo as saying the continued bad weather conditions have so far prevented the ship’s crew from pushing through with salvage work.

Earlier Wednesday, Task Force Tubbataha head and Coast Guard Palawan commander Commodore Enrico Evangelista said they may have to postpone salvage work due to bad weather.

However, Evangelista said there is still no change so far in their timetable to remove the USS Guardian from the reef by March 23.

On the other hand, the dzBB report quoted Balilo as saying that despite the bad weather conditions, JASCON 25 is not returning to Puerto Princesa City.

Balilo said they are hoping that when Tropical Depression Crising leaves the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday, the Coast Guard and the salvage team can finally get salvage work going.

For now, he said the safety of those involved in the salvage work is their main concern. — LBG, GMA News

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