The private salvage company hired by the US Navy to remove the USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef Natural Park will be paid almost $25 million (about P1.2-B) to complete its task, according to the US Department of Defense.
"SMIT Salvage, Singapore, was awarded on Feb. 1, 2013, a $24,889,904 delivery order against previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00024-12-D-4120) to provide support for emergency response and recovery operations for the USS Guardian grounding on Tubbataha Reef, Sulu Sea, Philippines," the DOD published as an official notice on Wednesday, February 6.
Support provided by SMIT "will include personnel, vessels and equipment required for assessment, planning, stabilization, oil removal and vessel recovery."
The notice added that the salvage operation is expected to be completed by December, not April or early May as earlier announced by the Philippine Coast Guard.
SMIT Singapore is the Asian branch of SMIT, one of the world's leading salvage company based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The firm provides emergency response, wreck removal and environmental care services around the world and has additional global offices in Houston, Texas and Cape Town, South Africa.
SMIT has been hired to work on a number of high-profile maritime accidents, such as the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, which crashed off the island of Giglio with over 4,000 passengers on board in January 2012.
The Philippine Coast Guard is expected on Wednesday to give the final green light to the US Navy plan of cutting the USS Guardian into pieces and then lifting each section onto a barge with floating cranes to minimize further damage to the reef at the UNESCO World Heritage site in the Sulu Sea.