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Chinese fishing boat runs aground in Philippines

A Chinese fishing boat has run aground on a World Heritage-listed coral reef in the Philippines, roughly 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) from China's nearest major landmass, authorities said Tuesday. The vessel, with 12 crew members, was found stranded in the shallows of Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea just before midnight on Monday, coast guard spokesman Lieutenant Commander Arman Balilo told AFP. "This is a small fishing boat, but we are wondering how they strayed into Tubbataha. Apart from illegal entry, we are investigating them for possible poaching as well," Balilo said.

TMO head, 2 experts to assess Tubbataha damage

The head of the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) on early Tuesday flew to Tubbataha with two experts on Philippine corals to begin ocular inspection of the area.The damage on the Tubbataha Reef will be officially appraised on March 8. TMO head Angelique Songco flew to the site with Drs.

Tourists, divers still banned from going in Tubbataha grounding site

The salvage efforts for the ex-USS Guardian (MCM-5) may have been completed last Black Saturday but the order banning tourists and divers from going over the site where the minesweeper ran aground still remains, the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reiterated Tuesday.Both agencies said divers are still not allowed at two of the 15 Tubbataha diving sites - particularly those near the salvage site.

Gov’t to ensure US will pay for Tubbataha damage

The government will make sure the United States makes good on its pledge to compensate the Philippines for the damage inflicted by a US Navy ship on the Tubbataha Reef marine sanctuary, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Tuesday.Salvage operations to remove the USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper that got stranded on the protected area on Jan.

Divers start assessment of Tubbataha Reef

A joint team of divers from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)and the US Navy on Wednesday will start the ecological assessment of Tubbataha Reef where the minesweeper USS Guardian ran aground last January 17.Unknown number of divers are heading for the reef with marine biologists and representatives of PCG and US Navy, the Coast Guard said.PCG Palawan District head Commodore Enrico Evangelista said representatives of the Coast Guard Environmental Protection Command, Tubbataha Management Office (TMO), World Wildlife Fund, and US Navy will also proceed to the grounding site.

Sabah radio: Sultan’s men decimated

Malaysian police claimed on Saturday it had “nearly decimated” armed supporters of the Sultanate of Sulu which recently attempted to reclaim its historical ownership of Sabah.Speaking over Sabah-based radio, whose broadcast was monitored here, Sabah Police Commissioner Hamza Taib said the operation against “Sulu terrorists,” which entered its 25th day on Saturday, was coming to a close. He said the Sulu gunmen had significantly dropped to less than 10 from more than 200 when the operation began on March 5.“They were either killed or captured,” Hamza said.

5,000 Pinoys displaced by Sabah conflict; P13M in relief allocated

Nearly 5,000 persons, almost half of them children, have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in Sabah, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Saturday.The evacuees have sought shelter in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi provinces after Malaysian authorities clashed with forces of the Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III, who has renewed his family’s claim to Sabah.In its latest situation report, the NDRRMC said there are 944 displaced families, comprised of 4,983 people-2,903 adults and 2,080 children.The report said that the Departmen

USS Guardian removed from Tubbataha Reef; damage assessment next

The removal of the minesweeper USS Guardian that got stuck in Tubbataha Reefs some two months ago was completed Saturday, two weeks ahead of date estimates initially made by both Philippine and US authorities.Philippine Coast Guard Palawan District head Commander Enrico Efren Evangelista said the salvaging operation, that began right after the grounding in mid-January, took about 10 weeks to complete with the removal of the last major part of the ship, its stern, on Saturday afternoon.Manual cleanup operations involving US and Philippine Navy divers, however, continued, as pl

Evacuees from Sabah seek shelter on island in Palawan

Immigration and naval authorities in Palawan on Friday are on its way to Mangsee Island, Balabac to facilitate the proper documentation and investigation of around 740 Filipino evacuees from Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia.The evacuees arrived on the country's territorial waters Tuesday, Naval Forces West (NFW) commander Commodore Joseph Rustom Pena told PNA.Pena said the evacuees, mostly young children and women, were accosted by crewmen of a patrol naval vessel at sea on their arrival on various small sea transports."They said they are from Sabah, and that they want to seek s

US Navy replaces four over Philippines reef grounding

The commanding officer and three crew of a US minesweeper which ran aground on a protected coral reef in the Philippines have been relieved of their duties, the US Navy said Thursday. A statement from the US Pacific Fleet in Hawaii said an initial investigation had found that the commander of the USS Guardian and three others had failed to "adhere to standard US Navy navigation procedures."
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