A U.S. Navy ship remained stuck on a coral reef Thursday after running aground in the Sulu Sea in the Philippines, and authorities are trying to determine whether the accident caused any damage to the protected marine park, the AP reported.
The USS Guardian, based in Japan, had just completed a port call in Subic Bay, a former American naval base west of the Philippine capital Manila, when it hit the reef in the Tubataha National Marine Park.
"The ship is currently stuck on the reef, approximately 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island," said a statement released by the Navy's Seventh Fleet late Wednesday. "The crew is currently working to determine the best method of safely extracting the ship."
Coming in at 224-feet long, the USS Guardian uses sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine-detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control, according to a Navy fact sheet.
No injuries were reported among the crew of 81, but Navy officials said the grounding is under investigation.
Philippine authorities are trying to determine if the ship caused damage to the protected reef area. The ship was not listing or leaking oil but about 15 percent of the bow appeared to have struck the reef, Angelique Songco, head of the government's Protected Area Management Board, told The Associated Press after flying over the ship in a Philippine Air Force plane. "It does not appear to be damaged," she said.
Songco said the government imposes a fine of about $300 dollars per square meter (yard) of corals that are damaged.
In 2005, the environmental group Greenpeace was fined almost $7,000 after its ship, the Rainbow Warrior, struck a reef in the same area.
Songo said the ship may be able to float during the high tide later Thursday.
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