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U.S. Navy Minesweeper Stuck on Philippine Reef to be Dismantled

USS Guardian has been stuck on the Tubbataha Reef since Jan. 17.

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USS Guardian

The USS Guardian has bee stuck on Tubbataha reef in the Philippines since Jan. 17. Photo by U.S. Navy
The USS Guardian, a navy minesweeper that has been stuck on a reef in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Philippines will be dismantled, according to a report from the U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs. The 23 year-old ship hit the reef Jan. 17 and has destroyed approximately 11,000 square feet of the reef at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"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."

After reviewing its options, the U.S. Navy determined that the best course of action was to cut the ship up in pieces after all salvageable equipment is removed from the ship. Approximately 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel has already been removed. The personal effects of the crew as well as human wastewater and any petroleum-based products are also being removed prior to dismantling the avenger class minesweeper. The 224 foot long ship weighs more than 1,300 tons and was apparently on its way to Indonesia when it struck the reef. Officials with the park apparently warned the commander that the ship was entering a restricted area and World Heritage Site. Their pleas were ignored and now the ship will be dismantled, decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is an extremely popular dive spot located in the middle of the Sulu Sea and encompasses nearly 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of marine habitat, including three atolls. Thousands of marine species call the park home, many of which are familiar in the aquarium trade.

Want to learn more? Click here to find out how much reef was destroyed by the USS Guardian.

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U.S. Navy Minesweeper Stuck on Philippine Reef to be Dismantled

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