The U.S. Navy said today it has submitted a plan to the Philippine Coast Guard on how it wants to dismantle the stranded minesweeper USS Guardian.
The warship ran aground on a reef in the Philippinesâ€™ Tubbataha Reef on Jan. 17. Waves have battered the vessel since.
Navy salvage experts determined the only way to safely move it off the environmentally sensitive reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was cut it into piece and lift those pieces off the reef with heavy cranes.
"Guardian is badly damaged and with the deteriorating integrity of the ship, the weight involved, and where it is grounded on the reef, dismantling in sections is the only supportable option," a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman, Capt. Darryn James, said in a statement.
"We have the right team of experienced professionals to conduct this complex operation and to ensure that it is done safely while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment."