PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines -A week after the USS Guardian minesweeper ran aground on Tubbataha Reef Natural Park, authorities have finally decided to extricate the ship from the coral by lifting it with a crane and then transferring the vessel to a barge.
Navy removes harmful material from Gounded USS Guardian
January 28, 2013
From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs
Tubbataha caretaker reveals 'major progress' in USS Guardian salvage ops
"The US Navy has the highest accountability standards and all four sailors were relieved by Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harley due to their role in the grounding and a loss of confidence," a statement said.
The minesweeper ran aground on Tubbataha in a remote part of the Sulu Sea on January 17, damaging a section of the reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rich marine life.
The incident sparked widespread condemnation across the Philippines, a former US colony.
The US government has apologized for the accident, which it initially blamed on faulty maps. The Philippines has said it would impose fines.
US vows full payment for Philippine reef damage
The new US secretary of state gave the assurances to the Philippines during his meeting with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario in Washington on Tuesday.
Del Rosario also assured the Filipino public that "every effort will be made to obtain proper compensation" for the damage to Tubbataha, initially estimated to be at around 4,000 square metres.
The two countries are conducting separate investigations of the incident. A team of investigators from the Philippine Coast Guard is flying to Japan "to examine documentary and physical evidence as well as meet with the US investigating team," Del Rosario said.
By: Priam Nepomuceno, Philippine News Agency
August 15, 2013 7:06 AM
Manila, Philippines -
Crewmen of the USS Guardian relied on inaccurate digital maps that misplaced the protected reef by as much as 8 miles, a letter by the US Geospatial Intelligence Agency to the US Navy says.
US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) director Letitia Long admitted this in a letter to US Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert.
She added that the DNC display of the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was wrong due to erroneous commercial satellite imagery. Long, in her letter to Greenert, said NGA discovered that the charts related to the Tubbataha Reef prior to 2008 included a number of “phantom islands.”
To correct this problem, she said the NGA used commercial satellite imagery to update the charts.
“One of these images included incorrect information about the location of the section of ocean that includes the Tubbataha Reef. As a result, the reef was incorrectly placed in the [digital nautical chart],” Long said.
In 2011, NGA obtained survey data that corrected this positioning, but due to a failure to follow established procedure, this correction was made in one portion of the DNC, but not in another, Long said, a mistake she attributed to human error.
Long stressed that the error was compounded by “exclusive reliance” of the USS Guardian crew on GPS as a “single source of navigation.”
The crew did not pay heed to lighthouses on the reef, according to a 160-page post-wreck investigation report by Admiral Cecil D. Haney, commander of US Pacific Fleet.
The US Navy report said the grounding and destruction of the minesweeper also highlighted “potential systemic issues” on ships that use the Navy’s computer-based vessel management system and its electronic chart and display system.
The vessel management system is supposed to issue audible alerts of potential dangers, but as the USS Guardian neared the Tubbataha Reef before grounding, the Navy report said watchstanders on the bridge and in the combat information center did not report any alarms.
As the ship neared the reef, personnel on the bridge reported flashes from a lighthouse, but those were ignored as the crew continued to rely on the electronic charts and GPS.
Investigators blamed the grounding primarily on the crew’s failure to reconcile the differences between digital nautical charts of the area and more refined coastal charts.
The crew also failed to verify the position of the reef using a list of lighthouses.
The grounding broke the ship’s keel when rocks on the reef punched holes in its hull. The crew abandoned ship, with no loss of life.
“USS Guardian leadership and watch teams failed to adhere to prudent, safe, and sound navigation principles, which would have alerted them to approaching dangers with sufficient time to take mitigating action,” Haney said.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that the Philippine government received the full requested amount on January 30.
“Portions of the fund will also be used to further enhance capability to monitor the area and prevent similar incidents in the future,” it said.
Read more at http://www.mb.com.ph/us-receives-87m-payment-from-us-for-tubbataha-reef-damage/#b4K5rV6qlgPmfJmt.99