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Minesweeper to be cut up for removal from Philippine reef
Stars and Stripes ^ | 29 Jan 13 | Matthew M. Burke

Posted on 01/29/2013 10:06:54 PM PST by GATOR NAVY

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy minesweeper that got stuck on a reef off the coast of the Philippines will have to be dismantled and removed in sections, a process that is expected to take over a month, Navy officials said Wednesday.

The salvage plan is still under review by the Philippine Coast Guard, but it likely means the end for the 23-year-old USS Guardian.

“Our naval architecture and salvage experts have reviewed all possible alternatives, and our only supportable option is to dismantle the damaged ship and remove it in sections,” Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Anthony Falvo wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes.

“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. We expect the first floating crane to arrive in a few days and the dismantling to take over a month — we will work to conduct the operation as quickly as safety, weather and environmental protection allows.”

No one was injured when the ship ran aground around 2:25 a.m. on Jan. 17 while transiting the Sulu Sea after a port visit in Subic Bay. The crew of 79 was removed the next day as a safety precaution.

Over the last two weeks, the 224-foot ship has slid around on Tubbataha Reef, a World Heritage Site, damaging the reef and causing hull breaches. Its compartments have taken on water as crews worked to remove hazardous materials and secure items for removal.

Navy officials said earlier this week they had removed 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 671 gallons of lubricating oil, dry food stores, paints and solvents and the crew’s personal effects.

After the fuel was removed, seawater was pumped into the tanks to counter the ship’s newfound buoyancy, Task Force Unit Guardian spokesman Lt. Cmdr. James Stockman said Tuesday from Manila. Kevlar bands were used to reinforce the ship’s structure after almost two weeks of punishing seas had worn away much of the hull’s fiberglass coating.

“The Philippine Coast Guard is going to review the salvage plan of the U.S. Navy, and more information will be forthcoming soon,” Stockman wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. “The ship is currently stable, and we continue with our preparations for removal of Guardian from the reef.”

An investigation into the cause of the grounding is ongoing, and the crew arrived back at their homeport of Sasebo on Monday. Two contracted heavy lift ships fitted with cranes from Singapore are en route and will remove the damaged ship.

Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harley, commander of CTF-76, said Monday that the Navy is looking at what effects being down one forward-deployed mine countermeasure ship might have on operations in the Pacific.

The Guardian was the fifth of 14 Avenger-class mine countermeasure ships to be put into service, according to their website. Four are forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan; the others are based in Bahrain and San Diego. They are scheduled to be replaced in the coming years by Littoral Combat Ships, which can be fit with a minesweeping package but have been hampered by cost overruns, design deficiencies and delays.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Japan; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: grounding; unesco; usnavy; ussgaurdian; ussguardian; worldheritagesite
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To: doc1019
No matter how much I search, I can’t find the name and rank of the captain of the vessel. Hope I just didn’t overlook it.

Unfair though it may be, that raises the question: Affirmative action skipper?

21 posted on 01/30/2013 8:49:00 AM PST by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: JimRed

I would say yes.

22 posted on 01/30/2013 8:50:50 AM PST by sport
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To: JimRed

#19 answers that question. It is a pity that the question even rates asking.

23 posted on 01/30/2013 8:51:58 AM PST by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: PGR88; golux
Now hear this, you unpatriotic bozos and bozettes. United States Naval Vessels strike only, ONLY, uncharted reefs. The UN has some hell of a nerve putting one of their precious and pristeen World Heritage Sites in uncharted waters.

This must be very near where the sub captain ran his nuke-laden submersible into an uncharted (of course) undersea mountain at 1000 feet down and 40 knts.

By the way, that beautiful little ship is floating. Send out the committee boat from any yacht club on the Chesapeake and tow the damn thing off the reef. Fiberglass can take it, and if it can't, some temporary plywood and a quickie epoxy job should make her like new after a trip to any decent yard.

If the Filipinos have some sort of objection, TS. Couple rounds from the old Krag should send them scampering. Environment problem is it? One deep breath in any Philippine city can shrivel the lungs of an American in about 30 seconds.

Is this the thanks we get for teaching'em baseball? The bastards!

24 posted on 01/30/2013 7:41:04 PM PST by Kenny Bunk (Say, what the hell happened to Reggie Love? Who's in the playroom with Barry now?)
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The last US Navy ship lost to grounding was the USS La Moure County, LST-1194, when she ran at flank speed onto the rocks off Caleta Cifuncho Bay, Chile during a training exercise.

The impact shredded her bow, keel, screws, and rudders, causing extensive flooding and the dumping of some 40,000 gallons of fuel. Pulled off the rocks by a Chilean tug, she was towed up to a nearby naval base, where US salvage experts examined her and determined that she was too badly damage to repair. Stripped of all salvageable material, she was towed out to sea and sunk during a training exercise a few months later.

25 posted on 01/30/2013 9:28:06 PM PST by Stonewall Jackson (Molon Labe!)
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To: Stonewall Jackson

La Moure County grounding was due to the the nav team plotting GPS fixes that were in WGS-84 datum on a paper chart that used a local datum so positions were off. Lots of lessons learned messages from that one.

26 posted on 01/30/2013 10:03:01 PM PST by GATOR NAVY
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Kind of like the Honda Point Disaster back in 1923, when the navigator of the lead destroyer failed to realize that a massive earthquake a week earlier had caused severe current fluctuations in the area. The fourteen ships of DESRON 11 turned and charged full speed onto the rocks at Honda Point instead of into the Santa Barbara Channel.

Seven destroyers were lost, two were damaged, and twenty-three sailors died in the fiasco.

27 posted on 01/30/2013 10:42:30 PM PST by Stonewall Jackson (Molon Labe!)
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To: GeronL; Jeff Head; GATOR NAVY
Swept Away - Navy to scrap $277 million ship to avoid scraping reef

“The U.S. Navy also revealed Jan. 18 that the digital navigational chart in use by the Guardian misplaced the correct location of the reef by about eight nautical miles,” the Military Times reported.

28 posted on 01/30/2013 11:45:53 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

8 miles?

close enough for government work... jeesh.. should have used Google Earth or something

29 posted on 01/30/2013 11:50:56 PM PST by GeronL (
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if only obama hadn’t stopped the waters from rising, this would never have happened.


30 posted on 01/31/2013 6:22:42 AM PST by teeman8r (Armageddon won't be pretty, but it's not like it's the end of the world.)
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To: exnavy

Heh heh. You’re not kidding about not being able to fix stupid.

My point was, at least an Army vehicle is cheaper than a whole ship. Not cheap, but cheaper than a ship... :)

31 posted on 01/31/2013 4:33:36 PM PST by KitJ (Shall not be infringed)
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To: GeronL

should have used Google Earth or something
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
During WWII (1942)the Germans were raising havoc on the East Coast, using lights from the shore (they refused to shut down and darken the coast line) to sink tankers and such that were going up the East Coast.. They stood out like targets in a shooting gallery.

Anyway, one of the Subs involved got into NY Harbor, and the skipper says they used the lights and an Esso road map to navigate.

“Operation Drumbeat” (Gannon).

32 posted on 01/31/2013 5:33:22 PM PST by xrmusn (6/98 "It is virtually impossible to clean the pond as long as the pigs are still crapping in it")
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To: xrmusn

A lot of interesting stories from WW2!!

33 posted on 01/31/2013 10:06:17 PM PST by GeronL (
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