May 212013

The Philippine Coast Guard is now finalizing its report on the grounding of the minesweeper USS Guardian at Tubbataha Reef last Jan. 17 and will soon submit it to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

Administrative sanctions for those found liable may be included in the final report of the Coast Guard’s Marine Casualty Investigation Team, radio dzBB’s Carlo Mateo reported Wednesday.

Once he goes over the report, Abaya is expected to submit it to President Benigno Aquino III, the dzBB report added.

Last April, the Philippine Maritime Casualty Investigation Team (MCIT) received relevant documents on the incident from the US Navy.

The USS Guardian ran aground at Tubbataha Reef last Jan. 17, and damaged 2,345.67 square meters of the reef. It was cut and removed from the area last March 30.
A news release from the Tubbataha Management Office said the fines for the Jan. 17 grounding may amount to P58.4 million ($1.5 million).

On the other hand, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the MCIT’s safety inquiry also aims to identify measures the Philippines and US may adopt to prevent a repeat of the incident. —KG, GMA News

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