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Navy Relieves 4 USS Guardian Officers After Grounding

U.S. Navy

Lt. Cmdr. Mark Rice

The Navy announced today it has relieved four officers from the former USS Guardian - including the commanding officer - in response to the ship's grounding on the environmentally-sensitive Tubbataha Reef near the Philippines.

According to a statement from the U.S. Pacific Fleet provided to the Associated Press:

[I]nitial findings indicate all four sailors failed to adhere to standard navigation procedures at the time of the Jan. 17 grounding of the Guardian.

Besides commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. Mark Rice, the three other officers who've been reassigned are the executive officer and navigator, the assistant navigator, and the officer of the deck.

Navy officials told the Stars and Stripes all four officers were reassigned to Expeditionary Strike Group 7 headquarters in Sasebo as the investigation into what caused the grounding of the Guardian continues.

The Associated Press reports damage to Tubbataha Reef caused by the Guardian could end up costing the U.S. government more than $2 million in fines.

Click here to watch video of the Guardian's removal from the reef last week.

The crew of the USS Guardian has a new ship - the USS Warrior, formerly homeported in San Diego.

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