Manila, Philippines – A US Navy ship has run aground on a coral reef close to the Philippines where it remains at the time of writing.
The USS Guardian (pictured) ran aground on the Tubataha Reef at 2.25am local time on Wednesday. The crew of 81 are currently attempting to remove the ship from the reef, which sits almost 400 miles south of the Philippine capital of Manila. A US Navy statement reads:
“The ship is currently stuck on the reef, approximately 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island. The crew is currently working to determine the best method of safely extracting the ship.”
Amongst the six officers and 75 enlisted sailors on board, no injuries have been reported.
As is usual when a Navy ship runs aground, the grounding is now under investigation. So far, no leaks of fuel have been identified, and there is reportedly no damage that would allow water to enter the vessel.
The USS Guardian, a Navy minesweeper first launched in 1987 and based in Sasebo, Japan, was heading for its next port of call when it ran aground in the middle of the Sulu Sea.
A Navy fact sheet explains that the Guardian, a 14 Avenger-Class ship, is “designed as a mine sweeper/hunter-killer capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines.” Such vessels use sonar and video systems, cable cutters, and a mine detonating device that can be released and activated by remote control.
Many of the same sweepers have been dispatched to the Persian Gulf in the past 18 months in a bid to counter Iranian threats to populate the Strait of Hormuz with mines.