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Philippines bills U.S. $1.5M for reef harm

April 6, 2013 at 4:32 PM

MANILA, April 6 (UPI) -- The Philippine government has billed the United States $1.5 million for damage done to a reef when a U.S. Navy minesweeper went aground.

The Tubbataha reef is a UNESCO world heritage site because of its complex of marine life. The Philippines said an examination has shown less damage was done than feared when the USS Guardian ran aground in January.

The United States spent $45 million getting the vessel off the reef, removing it in sections to avoid causing further damage. The Tubbataha Management Office called the penalty "a slap on the wrist" compared with other costs.

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