The removal Tuesday of the forward section of the decommissioned minesweeper USS Guardian, which ran onto the Tubbataha Reef in January, was the first of several operations to dismantle the 1,312-ton warship, CNN reported.
The lifting of the first large hull section was a significant accomplishment. Each of the sections weighs about 250 tons, said Capt. Mark Mathews, supervisor of the salvage operation.
The Navy has pledged to remove the ship and clean up the reef, a UNESCO Heritage Site and home to about 500 species of fish, 250 species of coral and whales, sharks, dolphins and breeding seabirds, UNESCO said.
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