After four days, the 68 meter long minesweeper USS Guardian has remained stuck on Tubbataha Reef. Rough weather has pushed the vessel further up onto the coral reef. Initially stranded at the bow, the USS Guardian now rests broadside to the reef with the starboard hull on the reef. The Navy reports that the hull has begun to list to port and there is evidence the vessel has suffered water ingress. However, no signs of oil pollution yet being released.
Along with several US Navy vessels, Philippine Coast Guard and a salvage tug remain on scene. Forecasts show high winds and 2 meter waves in the area to continue for several more days preventing containment booms being deployed. A lighter vessel is scheduled to arrive on scene with oil recovery equipment.
The Navy has reported that a major factor to the cause of the grounding was an error on a digital chart. The paper copy of the chart along with other digital charts correctly showed the reef location, but the one digital version on the USS Guardian had anomaly. Naval authorities have stated that the investigation into the grounding will continue looking at other potential factors.
- USS Guardian (shipwrecklog.com)
- Digital chart error may have led to USS Guardian running aground on reef (wtkr.com)
- Crew of USS Guardian Removed as US Navy 7th Fleet Salvors Get to Work (gcaptain.com)
- Commander of USS Guardian expresses regret on Tubbataha Reef damage (globalnation.inquirer.net)