WHILE the US is still trying to remove the USS Guardian (MCM5) that ran aground at Tubbataha Reef on the Sulu Sea, a nuclear-powered US submarine is set to arrive in Subic Bay in Zambales on Friday, a statement from the US Embassy in Manila said.
“USS Cheyenne [SSN-773], a Los Angeles-class submarine, will arrive in Subic Bay on Friday, February 1st, for a routine port visit. This stop in Subic will permit the Cheyenne to replenish supplies as well as offer its crew an opportunity for rest and relaxation,” the embassy said.
It added, “The USS Cheyenne, named after the town of Cheyenne, Wyoming, is assigned to the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet. It is home-ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Cheyenne, commissioned in 1996, is the last Los Angeles-class submarine to be built by the United States.”
Meanwhile, the US Navy has reconciled itself into dismantling the grounded minesweeper to avoid more damage on the reef. Some 1,000 square meters of corals have so far been damaged.
The US government has remained silent why its warship entered prohibited territorial waters since Tubbataha Reef is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site.
Military officers who requested anonymity said the minesweeper allegedly entered Tubbataha to enable her sailors to go diving. “Maganda kasing mag-dive doon kung gabi,” one officer said. The USS Guardian ran aground on January 17.