Doomed minesweeper removed from reef

16:00, Mar 31 2013
USS Guardian
GROUNDED: The USS Guardian has been removed from a coral reef in the Philippines after running aground earlier in the year.

A US Navy minesweeper has been removed from a Philippine coral reef, where it ran aground in January.

Both sides will now assess the damage to the UNESCO World Heritage site to determine the fine that Washington will pay.

Philippine coast guard Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista said the stern, the last part of the dismantled USS Guardian, was lifted off the reef on Saturday (local time) in the Tubbataha National Marine Park in the Sulu Sea, about 644km southwest of Manila. Workers are cleaning debris at the site.

Evangelista said on Sunday that the damage to the protected coral reef would be assessed this week to determine the fine.

The US Embassy again expressed regret about the incident and reiterated that Washington was prepared to pay for the damage.

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AP