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New crane ship arrives in reef

Helen Flores, Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A crane ship contracted to lead the salvage of  the US Navy minesweeper USS Guardian is now in Tubbataha Reef Natural Park in Palawan.

Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista, Coast Guard Palawan District commander, said yesterday the M/T Jascon 25 arrived around 10 p.m. on Saturday.

A helicopter airlifted
customs, immigration and quarantine personnel to the Jascon 25 at 7 a.m. Sunday, he added.

The salvors and working party are expected to be transferred to Jascon 25 from Smit Borneo today, Evangelista said.

The Jascon 25 is scheduled today to lift and remove the topside gear on the  Guardian and position salvage support equipment, including generators, lights, pumps, exhaust fans, cutting and safety equipment on board.

Evangelista said the Singapore-based Smit Borneo was pulled out from the site so Jascon 25 can come near the grounding Archon Tide to pre-position and transfer salvors, working party and salvage equipment.

Jascon has a bigger fuel tank and does not need to refuel, he added.

Evangelista said strong winds and big waves at the site  made the transfer unsafe.

“The Jascon 25 and Smit Borneo, towed by Archon Tide, are now proceeding to the Puerto Princesa anchorage area to facilitate transfer of personnel and salvage equipment. Estimated time of arrival in Puerto Princesa City is 6 a.m.,” he said in a text message.

The Borneo is 110 meters in length and weighs 7,323 gross tons.

The Borneo, the first crane ship that the US government hired, was unable to start salvaging operations because its anchors reportedly failed to latch on to the sandy bottom.

The US earlier hired the services of salvaging ships M/T Trabajador 1 of Malayan Towage and Salvaging Corp. and the Vos Apollo of a Malaysian company based in Singapore.

The US Navy ship USNS Salvor and the Coast Guard’s BRP Romblon are also at the site.

ARCHON TIDE COAST GUARD PALAWAN DISTRICT COMMODORE ENRICO EFREN EVANGELISTA EVANGELISTA JASCON MALAYAN TOWAGE AND SALVAGING CORP PUERTO PRINCESA PUERTO PRINCESA CITY SALVOR AND THE COAST GUARD SMIT BORNEO T JASCON
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