End of the USS Guardian
February 4th, 2013
11:23 AM ET

Crane barges on way to stricken U.S. warship

One of two crane barges needed by salvage crews to help lift a stranded Navy minesweeper off a reef in the Philippines has arrived and another one is on the way, a Philippine news agency reports.

"The crane barge, Smit Borneo, arrived off Puerto Princesa Sunday morning. Another one, much bigger, is expected to arrive anytime soon," Philippine Coast Guard Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena told the news agency.

The warship USS Guardian ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef on January 17. Waves have battered the vessel since, badly damaging it.

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

The U.S. Embassy also is organizing efforts with local authorities for restoration of the reef. The U.S. is offering a $100,000 grant to a Philippine university to "support coral restoration research at Tubbataha Reef," the embassy said in a statement.

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Filed under: Philippines • World
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Kris Jackson

    Man, is it just me, or does this look really obvious and stupid? I wouldn't have taken a rubber duck onto that reef. It looks like what did happen would happen.

    February 4, 2013 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • suze

      It's just you. The accident occurred at 2:30 am and is reported to be a result of inaccurate digital charts, an assumption given some credibility by the fact the navy has not relieved the CO of command of the ship.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matty13

      You're looking at a shot from the air. Doesn't look like that at sea level.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mrharmon

      No it is not just you. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I don't care what time of day and how bad the charts are, any ship underway has at least one person on the bridge keeping look out. Seriously, it is remarkably light out even in the dead of night when you are in the middle of the ocean. The watch stander should have seen some sort of change in the sea condition...breaking waves maybe? Somebodies career should be OVER!

      February 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matty13

      mrharmon, I have stood hundreds of bow watches and it is NOT remarkedly light in the dead of night at sea. especially when you are confident you are on track and your course has been approved. Nobodies career will be over just cause YOU think it should.

      February 4, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Organic1

    I am pleased to see they are handling this in the responsible manner so far, I hope this mind set continues the course.

    February 4, 2013 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jack 63

    Why the heck didn't they just leave the ship unguarded for a 24 hour period? The locals would have stripped it to the keel in half that time. Problem solved.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • hanbryan

      Jack- how you put it is slightly racist but true yet really funny, lol.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      This racism is what got this ship in trouble in the first place. If the US Navy listenend to the ranger on site, Americans would have to put the bill to clean this mess.

      It also justifies the Philippines giving the boot to the US military bases in the country.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. USMC 84-04

    Jack 63, you are absolutely correct, look what happened to Clark AB after the Volcano errupted.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      II just want to defend the volunteeers who cleaned up the mess after the eruption of Pinatubo. The infrastructure in the bases are being used to boost the local economy. The factories inside the bases employ more people than when the US Forces were using it. Clark is being used as International airport receiving commercial flights as alternative to overused NIA.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    What a shame both for the vessel and of course the reef. These are important ships and in this case the Minesweeper had plenty of life left. One will hope the Philippine government will accept the generous offer of $100,000 which should more than help in the restoration of the coral. Let's also hope we fix our mapping system which seems to have Apple-like issues!

    February 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bam

    wow that reef is pretty big... so they hit this at night eh....
    not that the sound of the Ocean is different when it travels over this area.
    What did Hillary know?

    February 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bipar08

    let me guess, there are NO MINES on the reef

    February 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. gfreeman

    Why can't we mind our own business and leave other countries in peace?. Most other countries already think we are greedy, lazy, and stupid. This doesn't help dispute their thinking!

    February 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Yes, but had we leave the Phillipines alone during the Pacific war, they'd all be speaking Japanese today. Likewise, had we done the same in the European hemisphere, they'd all be speaking German. Sometimes our presence abroad is vital to global peace and stability.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Yes, we can mind our own business but had we done so during the Pacific war, the Phillipines would be speaking Japanese today and had we done so in the European hemisphere, half of Europe would be speaking German today. Sometimes our presence abroad is vital and necessary for global peace and stability.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. john the electrician

    Dosn't anyone look out the window on these ships?

    February 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kenneth Nelson

    You mean to tell me that we have nonthing out there in our enormus fleet that could drag this ship off the reef that would not cause more damage to the ship and the reef then it has caused already

    February 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gary

    How many American soldiers lives were lost In the war against Japan in the Philippine Islands giving the Islands back to the Phillipine people. How many millions of dollars were also spent removing the Japanese from these islands, and they want compensation. The US is very sorry that it happened and will do everything in it's power to save the reef but to see the people protesting the United States is terrible. History needs to be taught to these generations.so they understand how close they came to be under Japanese rule.

    February 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gary

    The difference between this incident and say Benghazi is that it is an absolutely certainty that heads rolled. This poor ship's captain, first officer, and the on duty crew are career dead if not booted out of the service. IF not booted out at this point, they will be the first to go when the draconian budgets cuts are issued by Obama. The Navy does not keep officers who break ships.

    February 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • kayshem

      The maps provided to the crew were incorrect. It was not their fault.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Citrus

      You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Luke

    Want US troops to withdraw? I guess they and China must be on good terms now?

    February 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    Warship? Only in that it's a US Navy ship. This one, however, is a minesweeper, a strictly defensive ship, with little to no weaponry on board (probably some .50 caliber machine guns used, again, for defense).

    February 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Doug

    What was it doing there in the first place?

    February 4, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
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