Skip to main content

Navy owes $1.5 million for damage to reef, Philippines says

By Brad Lendon, CNN
updated 1:01 PM EDT, Mon April 8, 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
  • New survey shows grounded minesweeper did less damage than originally thought
  • Minesweeper ran aground on Tubbahata Reef on January 17
  • Ship's commander, three others relieved of duty, U.S. Navy says

(CNN) -- The U.S. government is getting its bill for the damage a Navy minesweeper did to a Philippine coral reef, and it's less than expected.

Philippine officials say the USS Guardian damaged 2,346 square meters (25,252 square feet) of Tubbataha Reef after it ran aground January 17. That's down from the original estimate of about 4,000 square meters (43,000 square feet).

And that means, under Philippine law, the United States owes $1.5 million in fines, the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board said in a posting on the Tubbahata Reefs Natural Park website Monday.

The fines are based on the amount of reef that has been damaged, the state-run Philippine News Agency reported.

The Tubbahata board said the revised damage estimate was made by a team of U.S. Navy and Philippine marine biologists from Wednesday to Friday.

The original survey was conducted January 27 while the warship was still on the reef.

The Guardian was completely removed on March 30, when the ship's stern, the last of four sections into which its 224-foot-long hull had been cut, was lifted from the reef by a massive seagoing crane.

"Using aerial imaging, the grounding zone was originally outlined using the ship's length as the basis for computing the total damaged area. This image was later observed to be obliquely angled thus artificially expanding the area plotted on mapping software," the statement on the park's website said.

The cost of the salvage operation to remove the ship from the reef was $45 million, Stars and Stripes reported Monday, citing a U.S. 7th Fleet spokesman.

An investigation into the grounding is ongoing, but last week the Navy relieved the commanding officer and three members of the minesweeper's crew of their duties based on initial results of the probe, a Navy statement said.

"The initial investigation findings clearly indicate that the CO, Lt. Cmdr. Mark A. Rice; the executive officer (XO)/navigator, Lt. Daniel Tyler; the assistant navigator; and the officer of the deck at the time of the grounding did not adhere to standard U.S. Navy navigation procedures," the Navy statement said. "The U.S. Navy has the highest accountability standards, and all four Sailors were relieved by Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley due to their role in the grounding and a loss of confidence."

Tubbahata Reef is 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.

READ MORE: Minesweeper lifted from Philippine reef

READ MORE: Bow cut from U.S. ship, lifted from Philippine reef

READ MORE: U.S. Navy commander apologizes for ship stuck in reef off Philippines

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
It was supposed to be a class trip to a resort island. Instead, the ferry capsized, turning the afternoon into a deadly nightmare.
updated 6:12 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
From giant zippers to buttock-shaped balloons, Jun Kitagawa's public art is whimsical, erotic and playful.
updated 4:43 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Ukraine says it's forces have regained control of an airfield from Russian separatists. Nick Paton Walsh reports.
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
updated 2:51 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Sky gazers caught a glimpse of the "blood moon" crossing the Earth's shadow Tuesday in all its splendor.
updated 6:29 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 12:24 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Oscar Pistorius didn't consciously pull the trigger the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, the sprinter testified at his murder trial.
updated 5:16 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
updated 8:54 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
A mysterious new artwork has appeared in Cheltenham, where Britain's version of the NSA is located.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Like many parents across Liverpool, the McManamans waited. 25 years ago, it was all they could do.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The Maltese Falcon makes a swift turn while at sea.
How do you design a superyacht fit for the billionaire who has everything money can buy?
updated 11:48 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Pop art condoms in Kenya
Packaging can change how people see things. And when it comes to sex, it could maybe help save lives too.
updated 11:42 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
mediterranean monk seal
Africa is home to much unique wildlife, but many of its iconic species are threatened.
updated 11:09 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
A staff stands next to the propellers of Sun-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 HB-SIB seen in silhouette during its first exit for test on April 14, 2014 in Payerne, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
This solar-powered aircraft will attempt to circle the globe next year.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins.
updated 8:43 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Ebola victims usually come from remote areas -- but now the lethal virus is in a city of two million.
updated 9:40 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT