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Posts Tagged ‘Tubbataha Reefs’


From the Navy Post.   http://www.navytimes.com/article/20130403/NEWS/304030024/Four-fired-marooning-minesweeper-ocean-reef

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Four fired for marooning minesweeper on ocean reef

.Navy Times

Four fired for marooning minesweeper on ocean reef

The Navy fired the former commanding officer of the now-stricken mine countermeasures ship Guardian along with three of his officers after an investigation determined they “did not adhere to standard U.S. Navy navigation procedures,” the Navy said Wednesday.

Lt. Cmdr. Mark Rice, the ship’s CO, was fired Wednesday by Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7. The reliefs came while Rice and his crew were to take charge of the replacement ship, the minesweeper Warrior, which arrived last week in Sasebo, Japan.

The reliefs included the second-in-command, Lt. Daniel Tyler, who also served as the navigator; the assistant navigator; and the officer standing watch as the officer of the deck at the time of the grounding. Officials declined to release the names of the other reprimanded junior officers, citing privacy laws.

“All four sailors were relieved by Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley due to their role in the grounding and a loss of confidence,” the Navy’s press release said.

They have been temporarily assigned to ESG-7 pending the completion of the investigation.

The reliefs complicate the picture of the Jan. 17 grounding in the Philippines, which officials have so far blamed on an error on a digital chart that incorrectly plotted the Tubbataha Reef eight nautical miles from its actual location. Guardian ran hard aground and the crew of 79 was removed without injury. But the months-long saga, as Guardian’s fiberglass and wood hull pounded furiously against the coral while experts attempted to extricate it, was covered for weeks in the press and angered locals because the damage occurred in a National Marine Park, which has been designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.

The 7th Fleet commander, Vice Adm. Scott Swift, apologized four days after the incident.

The minesweeper was decommissioned on March 6 in Sasebo, Japan. Navy divers finished sawing through the hull and craning the cut-apart hull off the reef on March 29.

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The US Navy You Tube channel has posted some videos of the final stages of the USS Guardian dismantling and removal.

If  you would like to see what it is like to cut up US$ 277 million of US Navy assets with a chainsaw, take a look by clicking the following pictures or links below.

EX- GUARDIAN (MCM 5) Removal - Bow

EX-GUARDIAN (MCM) Removal – Bow

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EX- GUARDIAN (MCM 5) Removal - Midship hull

EX-GUARDIAN (MCM) Removal – Midship hull

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EX- GUARDIAN (MCM 5) Removal - Stern

EX-GUARDIAN (MCM) Removal – Stern

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Video 1 – Bow Section     – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E30RQ-0wDE

Video 2 – Midship Section – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5zUD3w9X9I

Video 3 – Stern Section    – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0RKpy3hID4

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This is the view that everyone has been waiting to see at Tubbataha Reefs…….again.

Ex-Guardian salvage

It appears that with the removal of the Stern Section of the USS Guardian, that all major parts have been lifted from the Tubbataha Reefs.

Ex-Guardian salvage

Ex-Guardian salvage

Ex-Guardian removal

All involved seem to have done a first class job to achieve the target of removing the minesweeper by the end of March. No doubt there will be seabed surveys and the clearance of small fallen debris that will need to be done, but that work should soon be completed.

All in all we should be happy that the reef has been returned to some sort of quiet normality within less than three months of the grounding.

Now we just have to wait for 250 years for the Reef to fully recover !

Tubataha Reef Damage 1000 square meter

Better Late than Never !

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Hull section removal from Ex-Guardian

Hull section removal from Ex-Guardian

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Removing the bow of the mine countermeasure ship Ex-Guardian

Removing the bow of the mine countermeasure ship Ex-Guardian

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USS Guardian salvage operationsUpdate 12th March 2013

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Here’s are some photo updates from what’s now left of the USS Guardian at Tubbataha Reefs. The Salvage crews have been making good progress with the chainsaw’s.

USS Guardian salvage operations

USS Guardian salvage operations

To date they have removed all of the ship superstructure the bridge deck and most of the main deck level !

USS Guardian salvage operations

The USS Guardian Bridge Deck, where the on watch crew set the fateful course for the vessel that led her to founder on the Tubbataha Reef is now seen on the deck of the Crane Vessel, the Jascon 25.

USS Guardian salvage operations

It’s from one of those consoles that the on watch crew declined to heed the radio warnings from the Park Rangers, that the ship had entered the restricted reef area, and famously reportedly radioed back to “bring [their] complaint to the U.S. Embassy.”  A sad tale and a sad outcome for the USS Guardian.

Whilst the ship was being cut up, the US Navy held a USS Guardian Valedictory at the ship base in Japan. The following are extracts from the ceremony.

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Vice Adm. Tom Copeman , Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet fittingly remembers USS Guardian, now being scrapped.

“During times of war and while operating in international exercises for nearly a quarter of a century, the crew and ship remained at the highest levels of readiness, serving our nation well,” noted Admiral Copeman. He continued:

“A significant moment during a ship commissioning ceremony occurs when there is a call to ‘bring this ship to life,’ and the crew sprints from their positions pierside, across the brow and into the ship itself, effectively adding life to what was once cold iron.

Equally momentous for a ship is when she is decommissioned, stricken from the fleet and returned to cold iron; the crew and former crewmembers left with their memories and reminders of serving our nation and multiple missions on an endless sea.

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Well in this case it is wet wood not cold iron as she is a minesweeper, but we get the point.

The Salvage crew have made good progress and they will be keen to complete the job as quickly as posible before bad weather like this sweeps in again.

USS Guardian grounded by reef

With the superstructure and bridge deck gone the ship structure will be weak and any large swell and waves like above could break up the vessel hull and scatter the contents around the reef. I’m sure they will be “buzzing” to get things completed, and get the job done.

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The USS Guardian, the US Navy Minesweeper that let her guard down is now rapidly disappearing bit by bit from Tubbataha Reef.

USS Guardian salvage operations

USS Guardian

USS Guardian Salvage Operations

These are the latest images showing progress todate.

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First pictures of the USS Guardian breakup and removal from Tubbataha Reef, shows her top (Funnel) coming off.

640_ZZZ_022713_1_b

There are claims the authorities plan the removal to be complete by 23rd March. As the operation is weather dependant, and given the delays to date,  that seems like an aggressive schedule.

jascon25

As a Minesweeper, her hull is Wooden, so they are about to get the Chainsaw’s buzzing to her cut up. The USS Guardian, whoose value was estimated at US$ 277 million will be a Total Loss. A sad end to US Naval vessel that had some of the most sophisticated sonar and navigation electronics onboard.

The initial explanation for her grounding was a discrepency between her Electronic Charts (ECDIS) and “reality”. The size of the bust; reportedly 8 nautical miles !

This Chart produced by the Philippine Coast Guard indicates her position on the Reef. The ‘reality’.

640_USS-Guardian_location_25Jan2013

This chartlet illustrates her position as believed to be presented onboard the vessels Electronic Navigation systems. The ‘bust’.

TubbaENCwreckLocation

This is a view of the area as seen from a Helicopter some time later.

640_ZZZ_012513_1_b

The distance between going on her way and ending up as matchsticks was likley only around 300 metres to the west, where she would have scraped past the edge of the reef. So close but yet so far.

It does make you wonder what level of lookout was being maintained on the bridge of the vessel, both by eye and by radar. Depending on the state of the tide and the weather, the reef and breaking waves may have been visible. It is stated the reef has more than 3 to 5 feet of sea water covering at high tide, but the Black Rock feature and the Navigation Light Marker at the South of the structure should have been visible on Radar.

Also as the vessel had been called by the Park Rangers on the reef, there should have been a higher level of vigilance onboard.

It is easy to just roll along trusting the instruments that have always been right before, but there always has to be a ‘calibration’ with reality no matter where you are, and Radar is an excellent tool to do that.

At the end of the day there is no substitute for keeping a vigilant lookout, and examining any surrounding features both by eye and by radar.

Most accidents would seem to be avoidable if a good lookout is maintained and by taking cautionary actions early, when anything unexpected comes along.

I am sure that somone will soon be flipping burgers instead of flipping through charts as a US Naval personnel.

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From ABC News.

US Navy to Dismantle Ship Stuck on Philippine Reef
MANILA, Philippines January 30, 2013 (AP)

Guardian

The U.S. Navy said Wednesday that it would dismantle a minesweeper that ran aground on a coral reef in the Philippines after carefully studying all options on how to remove the damaged ship.

Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. James Stockman said dismantling the USS Guardian was determined to be the solution that would involve the least damage to the Tubbataha Reef, a protected marine sanctuary where the ship got stuck Jan. 17.

He said the Philippine coast guard was reviewing the plan, but gave no other details.

The Navy had said previously that the Guardian would be lifted by crane onto a barge and taken to a shipyard, but apparently the damage was too extensive and it will have to be cut up and removed in pieces. Stockman gave no time frame for the operation.

The grounding caused no casualties to the ship’s 79 crew and officers, who were taken off the vessel after it crashed into the reef in shallow waters. The ship began listing and taking on water through holes in the wooden hull. The Navy’s support vessels siphoned off remaining fuel and salvage teams removed heavy equipment and hazardous material.

The Navy is investigating the incident, which caused Philippine government agencies and environmentalists to express concern about the extent of damage to the coral reef.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said last week that the U.S. Navy must explain how the ship got off course. He said the Navy would face fines for damaging the environment.

Rear Adm. Thomas Carney, commander of the Navy’s Logistics Group in the Western Pacific, told reporters last week that the investigation would look into all the factors that may have led to the grounding, including a reported faulty digital chart, sea conditions, weather and the state of the ship’s navigational equipment.

The Navy and the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, Harry K. Thomas, have apologized for the grounding and promised to cooperate with its close ally.

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From National Post

$277M USS Guardian is a complete loss: Navy plans to dismantle ship that ran aground in Pacific

On Reef - Salvage

HONOLULU — The U.S. Navy plans to dismantle a minesweeper that ran aground on a coral reef off the Philippines because the ship is a complete loss and because removing it intact would cause more damage to the reef and the ship’s hull, a spokesman said Wednesday.

There’s also a chance the USS Guardian might break up or sink if crews tried to remove it without taking it apart first, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Darryn James said.

Limiting damage to the coral, which is part of a national marine park, is important to the Navy, James said.

“We really do care about being good stewards of the environment,” he said by telephone from Pacific Fleet headquarters in Pearl Harbor.

The Navy has presented the ship removal plan to the Philippines, which is reviewing it.

“We’re working very closely with the Philippine coast guard, with their navy and their government personnel. We’ve been grateful for their support as we all work together to remove Guardian and minimize further damage to the reef,” James said.

It’s expected to take over a month to dismantle the Guardian, which ran aground before dawn on Jan. 17.

Crews have already removed 15,000 gallons of fuel from the ship. They’ve also taken off hundreds of gallons of lubricating oil and paint. They’ll be removing human wastewater and other materials that could harm the environment, James said.

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