Skip to comments.Navy's ship likely to remain stuck for a couple more weeks
Posted on 01/27/2013 3:14:51 PM PST by GATOR NAVY
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan The Navy minesweeper USS Guardian stuck on a protected reef off the coast of the Philippines for a week will most likely stay there up to two more weeks, Navy officials said Thursday.
Rear Adm. Tom Carney, Joint Group Unit Guardian commander, said two contracted heavy-lift ships from Singapore are scheduled to arrive next Wednesday or Thursday at the site near Palawan Island to begin removing the stranded ship. The work ultimately depends on conditions at sea and efforts to stabilize the vessel and lighten its load.
During a news conference with Philippine military representatives in Palawan, Carney acknowledged that the 224-foot Guardian has moved significantly in the surf on Tubbataha Reef, a World Heritage Site; had been badly damaged with several breaches in the hull, had taken on a significant amount of water and now lay 20-30 yards from the edge of the reef with a 10-degree list.
[The Guardian] will have to be lifted off onto another ship or barge to leave the area, Carney said. Right now, the ship could not maneuver on its own and is not operational The ship is too badly damaged [to be towed] unfortunately.
The comments came a day after Navy officials announced a Military Sealift Command salvage ship, the USNS Salvor, and a Malaysian tug, Vos Apollo, were also on their way to aid the vessel.
The Vos Appollo began rigging lines to defuel the vessel Wednesday but was not able to due to sea conditions, Philippine military representatives told the news conference. The Salvor is scheduled to arrive Thursday evening with divers and salvage equipment. They will make repairs and work to stabilize the ship, Carney said.
For the past two days, Navy and contracted salvage divers have been fighting rough seas to assess the water inside the Guardian and damage, plug some of the holes, secure items onboard so they dont go over the side, and ready items to be removed to lighten the ships weight, Carney said. He hoped they would be able to start pumping out the 15,000 gallons of fuel Thursday.
Once the lift ships from Singapore arrive, some of the heavy items will be off-loaded while Navy architects assess how much water is inside and devise a plan to get lift equipment under the ship. The Guardian will be lifted by crane and placed on a ship or barge.
Carney said it was a complex salavage operation and could take as long as two weeks.
I want to express my deepest regret for the circumstances we are in right now, Carney said. We are absolutely committed to removing the ship from the reef as soon as possible. That is the focus of all of our efforts.
No one was injured when the Avenger-class mine countermeasure ship ran aground around 2:25 a.m. on Jan. 17 while transiting the Sulu Sea after a port visit in Subic Bay.
The Guardians crew of 79 was removed the next day as a safety precaution. The crew and officers are being interviewed and charts studied as the investigation into the incident continues, Carney said.
Navy officials have indicated faulty digital navigation charts may have led to the grounding. Carney said conditions, visibility and other navigational aids were also being looked at.
In the meantime, environmental concerns are rising the longer the ship stays on the reef.
If the weather deteriorates, we can expect more damage, Park administrator Angelique Songco said. Another week of this? Unfortunately, yes It is really sad.
I believe I read in an earlier article that the ship grounded at high water, always the worst scenario. Additionally, as the photo shows, while she was initially perpendicular to the reef with only the forward half grounded, she is now parallel and fully grounded along the entire length of the ship. I wonder how the wood and fiberglass hull is going to hold up to another couple of weeks on the reef.
It’ll buff right out.
And we've contracted for two civilian ships to come out from Singapore to lift and transport her. Maybe someone with more US Navy knowledge can comment if this is standard practice or a product of not having the military capability any more?
The USS Roberts was severely damaged by a mine in the Persian Gulf in 1988, the absolute peak of the Reagan Navy, an we had to contract for a Dutch lift ship to carry her home.
So it's standard practice. USN doesn't keep its own lift ships around because we don't need them very often.
Well I am guessing there is a Captain that lost his Navy drivers license for good!
I like the crocodile tears of the Philippine officials. The longer the ship stays there, the greater the “environmental damage” it will cause and the greater the fines, which the USG will pay with an apology. If they had their way, that ship wouldn’t move for years.
Navy officials have indicated faulty digital navigation charts may have led to the grounding.The captain should have known better than to trust those GPS driving directions. Recalculating.....
It’s pretty impressive reading about how they plan to recover this ship, despite the sea pushing it towards the center of the reef and wrecking the hull. I imagine that for most of human history, up until maybe a century ago, this ship would have been doomed to become part of that reef.
Looks like a job for Earl Schieb.
Actually, thinking about this has reminded me of the story of Captain Streeter, a Great Lakes steamboat captain who ran his ship aground on a sandbar near Chicago in the 1800s. He couldn’t do anything about it at that time, so he decided to leave the ship there and used it to conduct business that was illegal in the Chicago city limits, like gambling and serving liquor on Sundays.
Eventually, he got people to dump the debris from the Chicago fire on his sandbar and backfilled the lake all the way to the shore, creating the neighborhood called Streeterville.
“Rear Adm. Tom Carney, Joint Group Unit Guardian commander, said two contracted heavy-lift ships from Singapore are scheduled to arrive next Wednesday or Thursday at the site near Palawan Island to begin removing the stranded ship.”
Does the US navy have the capacity to do this type of thing instead of contracting it out?
That’s making lemonade out of lemons.
Nope. He's just announced that he's a homosexual. ;)
< /s >
hahahah good one!
No it’s normal ops to contract this sort of thing out.
No it’s normal ops to contract this sort of thing out.