Grounded USS Guardian to be Dismantled

Story Number: NNS130201-05Release Date: 2/1/2013 7:23:00 AM
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From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- After running aground on Tubbataha Reef near the Philippines, the Navy has determined that the 23-year old USS Guardian (MCM 5) will be dismantled and safely removed from the reef in sections.

Naval architecture and salvage experts have assessed that attempts to remove Guardian intact, such as by towing or pulling it off the reef, could possibly cause more damage to the reef and the ship's hull, and most likely result in the vessel breaking up or sinking.

"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," said Capt. Darryn James, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman. "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."

There were no injuries when Guardian ran aground Jan. 17 following a port visit to Subic Bay while in transit to Indonesia. Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet has ordered an investigation to assess the circumstances and facts surrounding the grounding.

No fuel has leaked since the grounding and all of the approximately 15,000 gallons aboard Guardian were safely transferred off the ship during two days of controlled de-fueling operations last week.

Since Guardian's grounding, the Navy has been working meticulously to salvage any reusable equipment, retrieve the crew's personal effects, and remove any potentially harmful materials including petroleum-based products and human wastewater. USS Mustin (DDG 89), USNS Bowditch, M/V Trabajador, USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) and the Malaysian tug VOS Apollo remain on scene supporting the salvage operation.

It is expected that the first Navy contracted floating crane from Singapore will arrive in the next several days and that the dismantling operation will take more than one month. The Navy has presented a dismantling plan to the Philippine Coast Guard that maintains the floating cranes necessary for this operation in deeper water in order to minimize coral damage to Tubbataha Reef.

"We continue to work closely at all levels with the Philippine Coast Guard, Navy and government officials and we are grateful for the support we have received to remove Guardian and minimize further damage to the reef," said James.

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2/22/2013 1:20:00 AM
As a plank owner of USS Guardian and as a part of the crew that earned the Combat Action Ribbon onboard during Desert Storm. It is like losing a family member to me. It is so terrible that the ship I loved is going to be cut up and scrapped like yesterdays garbage. I wish it would be possible to obtain a significant memento from the ship before it is discarded.................................

2/5/2013 2:24:00 PM
It's actually sad the the Guardian will end up dismantled like this. No decommissioning ceremony for this fine ship. The contributions that this ship has made to the Navy will be forgotten, it will only be remembered for running aground.

2/4/2013 6:55:00 PM
I sure hope it was faulty charts and not any on-board ship related human error. Kudos to the hard decisions being made despite the humility the Navy has to go through during this time. Best wishes to all involved.

2/4/2013 8:49:00 AM
Please disclose that Tubbataha Reef is one of the most important coral reefs in the World. It is a National Park and a Unesco World Heritage site. Thank you!

2/1/2013 3:16:00 PM
Re: the USS Gardian. In the late 1960's, a US Ship (a destroyer ??) was caught up on coral reef behind the Bamboo Curtin. The Navy called the company I was working for. The needed a solution to get the ship off the reef, as they did not want to leave the ship. Our company were manufacturers of liquid polyurethane foam in cylinders. They went with divers underneath the ship and foamed in the hull with foam and floated in out. The same probably could be used for the Guardian.

2/1/2013 10:56:00 AM
I understand at this point that the ship is deteriorating due to weather and being on the reef, but I have a hard time understanding that we cannot take enough equipment off of it to lift it off the reef. I am also in disbelief that the reef and the eco-system is more valuable than a United States Naval Vessel? It must have hit that reef with alot of force to be that grounded! Could it be the damage is worse than the news is reporting? HMC(SW/AW), IDC USN (Retired)

2/1/2013 10:13:00 AM
Good job fellow sailors!! A precise plan in effect with minimal damage to the surroundings. BP andsome of these other petrolium bigwigs should take some lessons on how to do the job right!!

2/1/2013 7:54:00 AM

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The mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) sits aground on the Tubbataha Reef.
130122-N-ZZ999-061 SULU SEA (Jan. 22, 2013) The mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) sits aground on the Tubbataha Reef. Operations to safely recover the ship while minimizing environmental effects are being conducted in close cooperation with allied Philippines Coast Guard and Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Naval Aircrewman (Tactical Helicopter) 3rd Class Geoffrey Trudell/Released)
January 24, 2013
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