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Clues Emerge As To Why USS Guardian Ran Aground

Photo credit: Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command (WESCOM)

USS Guardian aground on Tubbataha Reef.

The coral reef on which the USS Guardian ran aground on January 17 was misplaced by eight nautical miles on a digital chart used by the Guardian crew for navigation, according to the Navy Times, and this error may have been "a significant factor" in the accident.

In addition, the Navy Times reports:

As of Jan. 18, Navy ships have been directed to “operate with caution” when using similar electronic charts and compare the map data with paper charts, which are considered accurate.

As Home Post reported last week, the Guardian ran aground on Tubbataha Reef early on the morning of January 17, while transiting the Sulu Sea, approximately 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island, off the coast of the Philippines.

The U.S. 7th Fleet Commander, Adm. Scott Swift, expressed regret over the incident in a statement released by the Navy. That statement reads:

“As a protector of the sea and a Sailor myself, I greatly regret any damage this incident has caused to the Tubbataha Reef. We know the significance of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and its importance as a World Heritage Site. Its protection is vital, and we take seriously our obligations to protect and preserve the maritime environment.”

As of January 21, the Navy has charged Rear Adm. Thomas Carney, Commander of Logistics Group Western Pacific, to oversee recovery operations for the USS Guardian. The goal now, according to the Navy... focused on preventing any further environmental damage to the reef and surrounding marine environment.

The Navy reports that thus far, there have been no reports of oil spills or slicks in the area where the USS Guardian is grounded.

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