Skip to main content

Big parts coming off U.S. ship on reef

By Brad Lendon, CNN
updated 8:43 AM EST, Wed February 27, 2013
The stern of the USS Guardian, the last piece of grounded ship, is removed by a crane vessel on Saturday, March 30. The U.S. Navy minesweeper became trapped on a reef off the western Philippine island of Palawan on January 17. The Navy has pledged to clean up debris and restore the reef as much as possible. The stern of the USS Guardian, the last piece of grounded ship, is removed by a crane vessel on Saturday, March 30. The U.S. Navy minesweeper became trapped on a reef off the western Philippine island of Palawan on January 17. The Navy has pledged to clean up debris and restore the reef as much as possible.
HIDE CAPTION
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Funnel, mast of minesweeper removed
  • U.S. Navy sending ship from Bahrain to replace USS Guardian
  • Ship ran aground on Philippine reef in January

(CNN) -- Big parts are coming off a former U.S. Navy minesweeper that became stuck on a Philippine reef in January.

Salvage crews have removed the funnel, or smokestack, and mast from the former USS Guardian, the Philippine coast guard reports. The agency posted a series of photos on its website showing large parts of the minesweeper being lifted by a crane and transferred to a barge.

Once the top decks of the ship is cleared and heavy machinery is removed from the inside, the 224-foot-long, fiberglass-and-wood hull of the Guardian is expected to be cut into three parts before it is lifted from the reef.

Salvage efforts are expected to continue through most of March, the U.S. Navy said, but adverse weather could increase the time needed.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy said that the Guardian was decommissioned and stricken from the naval registry on February 15.

Another minesweeper, the USS Warrior, is being moved to the Pacific to replace the Guardian, the Navy said. That vessel, currently in Bahrain, will be ferried by a heavy transport ship to the U.S. naval base in Sasebo, Japan, where the Guardian's crew will take over its operation, according to a Navy statement.

The Guardian grounded on Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on January 17. An investigation of the grounding is ongoing. Navy officials said in January that the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which prepares the digital navigation charts used by the Navy, has reported the location of the reef was misplaced on a chart by nine miles.

The Guardian is estimated to have damaged about 4,000 square meters (about 43,000 square feet) of the reef. The Navy has pledged to clean up the debris created when waves stripped off pieces of fiberglass covering the wooden hull of the ship and to try to restore the reef as much as possible.

Philippine officials said last month that the country would seek compensation for reef damage. Harry K. Thomas Jr., the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, has assured the Filipinos that the United States "will provide appropriate compensation for damage to the reef caused by the ship."

The reef is home to a vast array of sea, air and land creatures as well as sizable lagoons and two coral islands. About 500 species of fish and 350 species of coral can be found there, as can whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and breeding seabirds, according to UNESCO.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:49 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
updated 8:26 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
updated 3:39 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT