Skip to main content

Minesweeper lifted from Philippine reef

By Brad Lendon, CNN
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Sat March 30, 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
  • The grounded U.S. Navy minesweeper was removed from a Philippine reef Saturday
  • The Guardian is estimated to have damaged about 4,000 square meters of the reef
  • The USS Guardian ran aground on January 17

(CNN) -- The Guardian is gone. What was left of the former U.S. Navy minesweeper was lifted off a Philippine reef on Saturday.

"The stern was lifted around 1:50 p.m.," Philippine Coast Guard Palawan District head Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista told the state-run Philippine News Agency.

It was the last of the four sections of the wood and fiberglass hull the USS Guardian had been cut into in the effort to remove it from where it ran aground on January 17.

Bow cut from U.S. ship

The 250-ton stern segment was placed aboard a waiting barge.

"As the hull has been removed, the team is now shifting their effort to collecting minor debris that remains on the reef," the head of the salvage operation, Navy Capt. Mark Matthews, said in a statement.

"We also have a collaborative team from the U.S. and the Philippines beginning to assess the condition of the reef."

The Guardian is estimated to have damaged about 4,000 square meters (about 43,000 square feet) of the reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to about 500 species of fish and 350 species of coral, as well as whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and breeding seabirds.

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.

"(With this complete) the second phase which is the assessment and recovery phase (for the damaged reef) begins," Evangelista said.

"Every salvage operation presents unique challenges. It has been difficult to extract the Guardian without causing further damage to the reef, but the U.S. Navy and SMIT salvage team with support from other companies and the government of the Philippines have really done a superb job. I could not be more proud," Matthews said. "We continue to work closely with the Philippine Coast Guard, Navy and Tubbataha Reef Park Rangers, and we are grateful for the support we have received to remove Guardian and minimize further damage to the reef."

An investigation into the grounding is ongoing, but 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.

While the removal of the stern from the reef may visually mark the end of the Guardian, the ship was officially stricken from the U.S. Navy registry in February. Navy communications now refer to it as the Ex-Guardian. It has been replaced in the Pacific by the USS Warrior, which arrived at the U.S. naval base in Sasebo, Japan, earlier this month. The Guardian's crew will take over operation of the Warrior.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 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
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT