End of the USS Guardian
February 1st, 2013
01:04 PM ET

Navy submits plan for dismantling stranded minesweeper

The U.S. Navy said today it has submitted a plan to the Philippine Coast Guard on how it wants to dismantle the stranded minesweeper USS Guardian.

The warship ran aground on a reef in the Philippines’ Tubbataha Reef on Jan. 17. Waves have battered the vessel since.

Navy salvage experts determined the only way to safely move it off the environmentally sensitive reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was cut it into piece and lift those pieces off the reef with heavy cranes.

"Guardian is badly damaged and with the deteriorating integrity of the ship, the weight involved, and where it is grounded on the reef, dismantling in sections is the only supportable option," a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman, Capt. Darryn James, said in a statement.

"We have the right team of experienced professionals to conduct this complex operation and to ensure that it is done safely while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment."

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Filed under: Philippines • World
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. cedaly1968

    I guess I am still stunned and shocked that the United States Navy has ships with wooden hulls. I had no idea...

    February 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • SCBAMA

      Its a mine sweeper with a wooden re-enforce with kelvar hull specifically designed for its mission which is underwater mine detection. So get unstunned.

      February 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      They are wooden hulls because some mines are magnetically activated; meaning they detonated once the magnet sensor gets attracted to a metal hull of a ship. By using wood, instead of metal, you don't have any magnet conductivity.

      February 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • donklos

      Amazing rudeness by all these responders. Such juvenile reactions. Any real adults on this board?

      February 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • MCMGuy

      The wooden hull with glass-reinforced-plastic sheath is meant to minimize the magnetic signature of the ship. Magnetic mines are not attracted to steel hulls of ships. Instead, they detect local changes in the earth's magnetic lines of flux, which is in turn distorted by large masses of magnetic materials (like ships) passing nearby. Minesweeper hulls first started being made of wood during WWI, when some moored contact mines had copper antennas that would create an electric charge when they touched a metal hull, thus detonating the mine. (source: "Weapons that Wait")

      February 3, 2013 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. empresstrudy

    PAX OBAMICA: "What does any of it matter any more?"

    February 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MKR

      I feel real sorry for you... life as you know it, is over (for you, apparently)

      February 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. thewaythingswork

    Minesweepers by their nature are built with non-magnetic hulls. Wood reinforced kelvar/fiberglass serves the purpose.

    February 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Divad

    Sorry but those people protesting are the communists or should I say SCAMS in the archipelago. THEY do not represent the entire country. Thanks Thomas, until then we are still serving uncle Sam. Anyhow, it was accident or should we say negligence, the skipper will surely go to court marshall, regardless. Wassup USS Scout and USS Champion, my former home and hotels.

    February 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I don't think the captain is at fault here. Their digital chart was off by 8 miles. They were using a computerized navigational system. It was basically a computer error. They did have ordinary charts available that were correct, but chose not to use them, according to another poster I read who seemed very knowledgeable about this event. I don't think that was negligent since the digital charts have been used successfully for some time. After this event I read that they were reviewed and another error was discovered.

      February 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Arsh

    with all the complicated detection equipment, how the heck did they miss that they were coming up on a giant reef?

    February 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick A.

      The detection equipment you are referring too is pulled behind the ship and deployed only when actively searching for mines. Also from what I read the Electronic Charts of the reef were 9 miles off on the reef's actual location.

      February 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • wowee

      They must've used Apple Maps. :)

      February 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. noteasilyswayed

    The ship should be cleaned out of all environmental hazards and left on the reef; the reef's already damaged and this cannot be corrected. As years pass, the ship will become part of the reef and its submerged portions will support marine life. I cannot understand the need to remove it from the reef.

    February 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ritmocojo

      Best idea yet. The nautical charts of this reef already show a couple of shipwrecks in this area. One more is no big deal, as long as they've removed all fuels and other contaminants.

      February 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    who was piloting..Exxon Joe or Schettino?

    February 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick A.

      From what I read the Electronic Charts of the reef were 9 miles off on the reef's actual location.

      February 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • svann

      Nick, its funny but it seems like you are blaming the reef for having faulty charts.

      February 1, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MrNatX

    Mean while 10 miles away, the City of Manila dumps raw sewage into the ocean......

    February 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      That is funny.

      February 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Palawan is in the Spratley Islands, about 300 miles from Manila.

      February 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dreamer96

    Hmm over 100 years ago ...Jules Verne wrote a story about how his Captain Nemo who used a deflated balloon, and put it inside a sunken ship.....Then pumped in compressed air and raised that ship again.....Why not put large deflated rubber balloons in the water filled rooms of that ship, and push the water out by filling the balloons with compressed air???

    February 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angry_Wiseman

      "Why not put large deflated rubber balloons in the water filled rooms of that ship, and push the water out by filling the balloons with compressed air???"

      Why not? Because the pumps already on the ship do that job just fine already, without making a medievel mockery of the recovery operation. But, hey, it's worth a shot. Go ahead and pull that large balloon from between your ears and email it to the Phillipines.

      February 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MCMGuy

      The balloons would not be the worst plan ever, if the ship had sunk. Yes, the bottom of the hull is sitting on the bottom. However, on Photo #2, see that part where the hull changes from black to grey? That is the ship's normal water line. The ship would have to be about 10 feet lower in the water (not high in the water) in order for it to float off.

      February 3, 2013 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. whitepine

    How Is the Navy going to offset the cost of this in their budget? I suppose some GOP Congressman needs to investigate this and/or call a hearing.

    February 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. svann

    What happened to the idiot that drove one of our ships onto a reef?

    February 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. w5cdt

    "We have the right team of experienced professionals to conduct this complex operation and to ensure that it is done safely while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment.". <– Doesn't sound like a no-brainer to me Captain.

    February 4, 2013 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. LUCIFER'S ADVERSARY

    REVELATION CHAPTER NINE nine in the bible. The devil's smoke. A new demonic BLACK AMERICA has arisen from both the black antebellum and hip hop (GANGSTA rap) nation and is based on stereotypical images of low class, ,poverty stricken and criminally prone blacks and has replace the black human population in both AMERICA and in AFRICA. whio were exterminated during the black holocaust during the years between 1968- 1993-2001. it is this evil which will end up tormenting those lost souls of those who do not have the seal of the living GOD in their forehead. The devil's smoke

    February 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. patricia

    hoopefully they will come back safe and sound..

    February 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
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