US navy ship runs aground on Tubbataha Reef


photo from wikipedia

MANILA, Philippines – A United States ship ran aground in Sulu Sea Thursday.

In a statement posted on the US Navy website, the USS Guardian (MCM 5) ran aground on Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, a World Heritage Site in the Sulu Sea, 640 kilometers (400 miles) southeast of Manila at 2:25 a.m. local time, January 17.

“The Avenger-Class ship had just completed a port call in Subic Bay, Olongapo City and was en route to her next port of call when the grounding occurred. 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,” the US 7th Public Affairs Fleet said.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation, the Navy added.

The ship was not listing or leaking oil but about 15 percent of the bow appeared to have struck the reef, said Angelique Songco, head of the government’s Protected Area Management Board, after flying over the ship in a Philippine Air Force plane. “It does not appear to be damaged.”

She said it was unclear how much of the reef was damaged. She said the government imposes a fine of about $300 dollars per square meter (yard) of corals that are damaged.

No one was hurt in the incident.

The USS Guardian made a port call in Subic Bay on January 13 for a routine fuel stop.

The crew is composed of about 80 officers and enlisted personnel including eight Filipino-Americans.

In a statement by the US Embassy made earlier, the ship was supposed to dock overnight in Subic, and then proceed to Puerto Princesa for another brief visit.

USS Guardian is based in Sasebo, Japan.

In 2005, the environmental group Greenpeace was fined almost $7,000 after its flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, struck a reef in the same area.

Songco said that park rangers were not allowed to board the ship for inspection and were told to contact the US Embassy in Manila. Their radio calls to the ship were ignored, she said.

She said the ship may be able to float free during a high tide later Thursday.

US Navy ships have stepped up visits to Philippine ports for refueling, rest and recreation, and joint military exercises as a result of a redeployment of US forces in the Asia-Pacific region. The Philippines, a US treaty ally, has been entangled in a territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

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  • DakuAkongUtin

    i bet ya, they were getting too close to the corals, so they can swim around  and catch fish for ulam. Since they are navy ship no one of the Dept of Fisheries Patrol dare stopped them . Ayan nawasak na ang mga kurals . Sira na !!

    • ofwme2807

       you bet comrade how much??call….

  • tina

    Just $7000 fine? That’s so little.  Should be Millions
    for foreign boat like that and so that they take the matter seriously.

  • ofwme2807

    kaliwa’t kanan visits ng US Navy ships di makaproma ang mga bully intsik na ang yabang last year panay threat at patrolya ng PLA at maritime ships sa Spratlys…ngaun tamimi change gear muna daw sa Japan daw muna sila focus daming US Navy ships sa WPS…

  • tina


    In Philippine territorial water and they told the Pilipino to
    call embassy and they listen? That’s weak!  They are probably stealing exotic fish and
    coral reef that only in Philippines
    they can do so. Other country they are not even allowed just to be near this
    kind of protected area.

    • ofwme2807

       fokfok tina you said it you’re guessing frobably hehehe…its alright to express an opinion barely without any proof…go to the port and see the navy men fokfok…

    • ofwme2807

       one more thing for sure and its on our record, only the poor dirt chekwas fishermen are the one mostly doing these illegal activities in the WPS…remember last year they were caught red handed and shown to the world with proof not speculations not guessing…

  • opinyonlangpo

    They just need a reason to stay there longer. Probably setting up underwater detection and signalling equipments in that area. This navy ship is a mine sweeper and can detect the corals from far far away as well as also map the ocean floor, it is a ship full of sensors for locating mines.

    • Tum

      I like your opinion.  It sounds like in the movies, yet it’s been said that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction :) I can’t think of another phrase more appropriate but you know what I mean :)

  • Bayang_magiliw

    It was there on purpose and was the right ship to get it accomplished. They needed more time to get it done.

    • opinyonlangpo

      Probably. It is a minesweeper, if it can detect and clear a small mine then a giant reef should be no problem.

  • DakuAkongUtin

    Aha, bulatik ito sa mga puti at negro . Gusto lang nila maglarolaro sa reef dyan para pangingisda sila ng preskong red snapper,  tamarong, mamsa at reef fish  para mag enjoy sila.   They making a pretext to call in more US navy ships to the area .

  • goldilock

    AFP send assistance! tug boat, coast guard. That ship may have a crack on its bow. Show what you learned in your joint training. The Americans will restore the reef.

  • 100% freedom of navigation

    Accidents do happen and accidents can happen to anybody. The damage on our corals and other marine life should be minimal because it did not even cause leak to the ship. Our nation must be more concerned without the US ships on our seas. We Filipinos must be grateful of the presence of US ships and submarines in our in our country because it is a signal that they are here to honor their treaty with us. Another thing that we must be concerned of is the the extensive damage on our corals being caused by extraction of corals. Palawan province reported that Chinese were extracting our corals. Philipipine Coast Guard reported the discoloration of sea in the Shoal. If corals are structurally designed by nature to hold all nations side ward movement when there is earthquake, corals should be of great importance to mankind.

    • Matt Lee

      How do you know damage to coral and marine life should be minimal because the ship’s not leaking? USS Port Royal grounded with no leaks but it caused extensive damage to coral. Still too early to tell.

      • Raul

        In the last several days, the air pollution in Beijing has gone literally off the charts: the levels are so bad that they go well beyond the worst possible rating on the official air quality index. Every day, at roughly the same time, our site China Air Daily documents China’s air pollution in five Chinese cities. I thought the new year had started out well. Beijing, for one, had quite a few clear days with blue skies. Then the new year’s record of clean air was swept away. The air got so bad that friends have told me the filthy air actually has been waking them up in the middle of the night. 

        For someone who has been following Beijing air pollution for years, this latest period has been surprisingly bad. I’ve seen too many completely smoggy days. I’ve also seen the worst week since Christmas 2007, when Beijing registered a 500 (the maximum on the government’s data scale). This past week the air quality readings have been much worse and stayed dangerously high for much longer than late 2007. 
        I’ve read much about how bad the air can get in Beijing and other Chinese cities. But what  sticks in my mind is a great experiment conducted by Greenpeace East Asia on eight volunteers who also wanted to find out how much dust their lungs would collect over 20 hours. What Greenpeace did was genius: tagging each volunteer with an air filter that connects with a breathing simulator through a pipe for a day. The team photographed the air filters before and after the experiments. The result is a striking visual warning about the most persistent public health hazard in many Chinese cities.

      • 100% freedom of navigation

        Yup. I read that too. It was on several media news sites few days ago.

      • Matt Lee

        Goes with the territory of going through an industrial revolution. People with short term memory – search for photos of smog in Los Angeles in the 50s. 

      • 100% freedom of navigation

        you did not get the point. what i mean is, in comparison to the massive destruction being caused by poachers scavenging on the corals.

      • Matt Lee

        “The damage on our corals and other marine life should be minimal because it did not even cause leak to the ship.”

        You may need to revise your sentence then.

  • joboni96

    ito ang resulta ng trabaho
    ng mga collaborators

    1. sa dfa tulad ni usec basilio
    2. sa dnd tulad ni usec batino

    kompiskahin na yang barko na yan
    tulad sa mga intsik switik fishermen

    ng may magamit
    pang depensa sa mga intsik switik

    courtesy of imperialist u.s.

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