Tubbataha Management Board Official Statement on the USS Guardian Incident

By TMO Published on January 22, 2013 2:14 pm

TODAY – JANUARY 22, 2013 – The Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board has released its official statement regarding the grounding incident involving USS Guardian in a board meeting called by the Tubbataha Management Board Co-Chair Gov. Abraham Khalil Mitra early today.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF THE TUBBATAHA PROTECTED AREA MANAGEMENT BOARD

This is an unfortunate incident.  No one wanted this to happen.  But, damage has been done.

Under Republic Act 10067, it is the TPAMBs mandate to protect, preserve and promote the resources of Tubbataha Reef.  We are duty-bound to enforce the law.

In order to fulfill our mandate and uphold the rule of law, it is the TPAMBs intention to serve the US Navy with a formal notice listing violations of the above law in the grounding incident of January 17 involving the USS Guardian.

We will ask them to take responsibility, and immediately pay the fines that can be estimated at this time.

The violations that are evident at this time, include the following:

Section 19 UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY

Section 21 NON-PAYMENT OF CONSERVATION FEE

Section 30 OBSTRUCTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

The park has suffered physical damage, the extent of which cannot be accurately estimated at this time.  These violations are covered by:

Section 20 DAMAGES TO THE REEF

Section 26G DESTROYING RESOURCES

These actions are being done without prejudice to the results of subsequent assessments that have yet to be done to determine the extent of damage to the Park and its resources as a direct result of the January 17 grounding, as well as incidental damage arising out of the ongoing retrieval operations.

Subsequent to ship retrieval and the assessment of Park damage, the TPAMB intends to serve a second formal notice of violation to the US NAVY that will quantify the estimate of destruction and the fines that must be paid.

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