It's all over but the crying ... and the salvage operations.
For weeks, the U.S. Navy has been trying to get its USS Guardian minesweeper unstuck from a Filipino reef that it managed to run itself aground upon. But continued failures have convinced the Navy it's time to abandon ship. Literally.
And so it is that the 23-year-old Avenger class sweeper, which struck the Tubbataha Reef on the night of Jan. 17, will die where it fell, cut up into pieces, and stricken from the Navy's roster of ships.
Salvage operations have already begun. And on Tuesday, the Department of Defense confirmed that it has already issued Singaporean salvage specialist SMIT Salvage a $24.9 million "delivery order" to perform work on a previously awarded indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity cost-plus-fixed award-fee contract to salvage the ship.
SMIT will be asked to provide "personnel, vessels, and equipment required for assessment, planning, stabilization, oil removal. and vessel recovery." It is expected to have the mess cleaned up no later than December -- and hopefully, much sooner than that.