Workers' safety will remain the top concern in the efforts to remove the US minesweeper USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef, the Philippine Coast Guard said Monday.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo explained on dzBB radio Monday that this was why they did not immediately start salvage work on the USS Guardian given the rough sea conditions at the Tubbataha Reef.

Despite the presence of two crane ships, salvage work on the USS Guardian could not start immediately Monday morning.

Balilo said they will wait for the weather to improve before they evaluate the situation and attempt to start salvage operations.

The USS Guardian ran aground at Tubbataha Reef, a heritage site, last Jan. 17.

Over the weekend, the crane ship JASCON 25 arrived in the Palawan area to help in the salvage operations.

It was expected to take over from the SMIT Borneo as the primary vessel in the efforts to get the USS Guardian off the Tubbataha reef. — DVM, GMA News

Click image for full view