US Navy relieves 4 officers from grounded minesweeper

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11:12 AM April 4th, 2013

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April 4th, 2013 11:12 AM

This handout photo taken on January 19, 2013 and released on January 20, 2013 by the Philippine Western Command (WESCOM) shows an aerial shot of US Navy minesweeper, the USS Guardian, as it remains trapped on the Tubbataha reef after it ran aground on the western Philippine island of Palawan. AFP FILE PHOTO

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Four officers of a U.S. Navy minesweeper that ran aground on coral reef in the Philippines are being relieved of their duties.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement Wednesday that initial findings indicate all four sailors failed to adhere to standard navigation procedures at the time of the Jan. 17 grounding of the Guardian.

The sailors are the commanding officer, the executive officer and navigator, the assistant navigator and the officer of the deck. They’ve been reassigned.

Workers recently finished dismantling and removing the minesweeper from Tubbataha National Marine Park.

The park’s superintendent has said the grounding damaged about 4,000 square meters, or nearly 5,000 square yards, of reef.

The U.S. could face a fine of more than $2 million for the damage.

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