Skip to comments.Minesweeper to be cut up for removal from Philippine reef
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 crews personal effects.
After the fuel was removed, seawater was pumped into the tanks to counter the ships newfound buoyancy, Task Force Unit Guardian spokesman Lt. Cmdr. James Stockman said Tuesday from Manila. Kevlar bands were used to reinforce the ships structure after almost two weeks of punishing seas had worn away much of the hulls 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.
Malaysian tug Vos Apollo prepares for defueling operations near the grounded USS Guardian on Jan. 24, 2013, while a U.S. Navy small boat approaches with a salvage team. The U.S. Navy contracted Vos Apollo to assist with removing fuel from the mine countermeasures ship, which ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea on Jan. 17. No fuel has leaked since the grounding and all of the approximately 15,000 gallons onboard Guardian was safely transferred to Vos Apollo during two days of controlled defueling operations on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25. Geoffrey Trudell/U.S. Navy
Wha an undignified way for a ship to end its service career
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.
Not even mentioning the captain.
Wow. Um. Go Army, beat Navy?
I can’t remember the last time the Army beached a Bradley worth several hundred million dollars and had to fly the crew to someplace else...
Just kidding, my brothers in arms. I heard the Philippine government is going to charge us for environmental damage.
Didn't even have a real Captain
The commander of a ship is the captain regardless his rank. Navy Captains usually command capital ships ... carriers, cruisers etc.
Does this seem a little strange? The boat is floating around on top of the reef, but cannot be dragged off? Is this a decision driven by some sort of environmentalist idiocy?
Wooden/fiberglass hull doesn’t stand up well against coral. Would certainly sink if they pulled it off.
I would just set a few depth charges drilled down into the reef below the ship, then KABOOM! Done.(Dusting off hands gesture)
Actually, ... I am employed with a company that manufactures the transmissions for the Bradley, as well as components for the Abrams and the big diesel engines for the tank recovery vehicles, some of the pictures and videos from the recent conflicts in the middle east might surprise you. Let’s just say, there is no fixin’ stupid, no matter the branch of service.
It is stuck on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, of all places.
Ah right it’s a minesweeper. Hence the non-metallic hull.
I haven't seen anything that says it outright, but apparantly the reef is a UN "World Heritage Site" or something like that, a crane could not be used to lift it off because of fears of damaging the reef, and the Navy had to call in a tug from Malaysia to clean up some spilled diesel - so YES, I imagine the Navy Brass had to go into politically-correct environmental mode for this.
The boat is floating around on top of the reef,
New found boyancy after fuel removal - - -
So they fill it back up with seawater....