Tag Archives: environment

2013 Tubbataha mishap

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I. Background
II. Considerations
    A. Innocent Passage, and Sea Lanes
    B. Visiting Forces Agreement
III. Senate Bill 2738
IV. Proper Penalties, including Fine, and Compensation for Damages
V. Demand for US accountability

I. Background

The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, located in the Philippines, is a UNESCO heritage site, as listed since 1993. [1] The park is protected under Philippine law, through Republic Act 10067. [2]

On 17 January 2013, the USS Guardian, a minesweeper belonging to the United States Navy (US Navy), after refueling at Subic in the Philippines, ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park. [3] The ship ran aground after the ship captain allegedly ignored warnings from the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO), the body administering the park. [4] [5] It is also alleged that “[t]he ship’s commander ordered a general alert and deployed personnel into battle position when [Philippine TMO] rangers tried to approach their ship to assess the situation, forcing them to back off.” [6] The US Navy [7], and subsequently the US Embassy in the Philippines [8], have issued apologies, limited to the grounding of the USS Guardian and the resultant damage to the corals. The Philippine president, Benigno Aquino III, allegedly have said that the US apology is insufficient [9], while a Philippine legislator allegedly requested the Philippine government to request official apology from US President Obama himself and to pursue demands for higher compensation for the damage. [10]

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