Home » Budget Industry » U.S. Pays Philippines $1.97 million for Reef Damage from Guardian Grounding


U.S. Pays Philippines $1.97 million for Reef Damage from Guardian Grounding

USS Guardian (MCM 5) sits aground on Tubbataha Reef on Feb. 8. US Navy Photo

USS Guardian (MCM-5) sits aground on Tubbataha Reef on Feb. 8. US Navy Photo

The government of the Philippines has received a $1.97 million from the U.S. for reef damage caused when the former mine countermeasures (MCM) ship Guardian (MCM-5) ran aground in early 2013, according to a Tuesday statement from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

“The compensation will be utilized for the protection and rehabilitation of Tubbataha Reef Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Portions of the fund will also be used to further enhance capability to monitor the area and prevent similar incidents in the future,” the statement read.
“In addition to the compensation received, the U.S. government is also providing additional assistance to the Philippine Coast Guard to upgrade the PCG Substation in Tubbataha.”


View Guardian Salvage in a larger map

The ship was grounded on Jan. 17, 2013 and resulted in a two months long process of removing the MCM from the Tubbataha reef which resulted in Guardian’s decommissioning and subsequent scrapping.

A report on the grounding found “this tragic mishap was wholly preventable and was the product of poor voyage planning, poor execution, and unfortunate circumstances. This investigation uncovers no single point of failure; instead, there were numerous links in the error chain leading up to the grounding. Had any one of which been appropriately addressed, the grounding would have been prevented.”

  • James Sword

    Learning lesson: When a park ranger repeatedly tells you that you are heading straight to the reef, you better stop look and listen. Stubbornness can get you fired and demoted.
    Tubattaha Reef is a world heritage site. It is also the most diverse ecosystem in the world.
    It is well guarded by sea park rangers especially from Chinese poachers who want to steal the rarest of our sea resources. You can’t see it, but it is 240,000 acres big. But you are carrying the most sophisticated underwater technology in world and you should be able to see what is ahead of you. Outdated maps excuse was not enough.

    It’s funded by UNESCO so likely the monies will go to the World Wide Fund for Nature. This is one of the best diving places in earth

    • old guy

      SUGGESTED STEPS:
      1. Defund UNESCO. It is just a UN ploy to control the world.
      2. Defund the UN. (same reason)
      3. Stop crying over every goof. If we did it and money can repair it, fine. If not cite that we saved their reefs, AND their butts, in WW2.

      • James Sword

        The problem is these guys manning the ship was not just careless but plain irresponsible. The ship got chopped-up into 3 and sent to the junk yard. That cost us $240 million. It cost us $25 million to summon 2 crane barge from Singapore to try to lift it up but to no avail. Then you have the 7th fleet commander go to the site with an entourage and sits there for a couple of weeks fuming mad. Had the crew sent home to the mainland. That’s at least a couple of million. Then had to pay the destroyed coral reef for $1.97 million as icing in the cake.
        Well, as a taxpayer, you know where that’s coming from. And yet these guys brushed aside the park ranger warning.
        We are broker than broke. Hello, 20 trillion and going. And this is an example of being wasteful and irresponsible.

  • Secundius

    Your joking right. The Chicom’s are stealing Philippine Islands for Naval Bases and Military Installations. And the Philippines are worried about Financial Reparations on a Reef…

  • publius_maximus_III

    Well there’s one skipper who will never make admiral.

    • Secundius

      @ publius_maximus_III.

      If this Minesweeper’s Skipper ever had a chance of making Admiral, it wasn’t going to be from the Bridge of a Minesweeper…

      • publius_maximus_III

        …and it CERTAINLY wouldn’t be from the broken keel of one.
        What’s that thing made of anyway? From the photos along the bottom of the article it looks like steel plate, but I thought they were made of wood because of magnetic mines. Or is that ancient technology?

        • jeff

          They are indeed made of wood

  • publius_maximus_III

    Neat interactive map imbedded in this article. You can click on it and zoom in/out, and also pan.
    .
    Head due East from the grounding in the Philippines and you’ll hit the Marshall Islands. Zoom in on an atoll shaped like the state of Florida. That’s Kwajalein, one of the major amphibious landings in WW-II. The Japs built airstrips on the extreme northern and southern tips, and they apparently are still there to this day.
    .
    I’m reading a biography I bought through the USNI about ADM Chester Nimitz, the Pacific Commander-in-Chief during WW-II. After Kwajalein had been taken, he visited it with some of his staff. It took them two hours traveling at 20 knots to transit across the lagoon from the southern end to the northern end — the world’s largest atoll. All made up of tiny little coral creatures, building on each others skeletons all the way up from the sea bed, one-by-one. Amazing how they know to enclose such a huge circle.

  • CumlaudE89

    Translation: “$1.97 million will be utilized for the enhancement and rehabilitation of the pockets of perennially and inherently corrupt Philippine politicians.”
    In other news, China promised to compensate the Philippines with a big fat middle finger for the former’s continued intrusion and destruction of protected reefs and species in Philippine territories.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Neat interactive map imbedded in this article. You can click on it and zoom in/out, and also pan.
    .
    Head due East from the grounding in the Philippines and you’ll hit the Marshall Islands. Zoom in on an atoll shaped like the state of Florida. That’s Kwajalein, one of the major amphibious landings in WW-II. The Japs built airstrips on the extreme northern and southern tips, and they apparently are still there to this day.
    .
    I’m reading a biography I bought through the USNI about ADM Chester Nimitz, the Pacific Commander-in-Chief during WW-II. After Kwajalein had been taken, he visited it with some of his staff. It took them two hours traveling at 20 knots to transit across the lagoon from the southern end to the northern end — the world’s largest atoll. All made up of tiny little coral creatures, building on each others skeletons all the way up from the sea bed, one-by-one. Amazing how they know to enclose such a huge circle.

    • Secundius

      @ publius_maximus_III

      The Lagoon you mentioned, didn’t exist in WW2. It was created in 25 July 1946 during Operation Crossroads, when two-Post War underwater Baker Atomic Bomb’s were being tested. And the ship’s at the bottom of the Lagoon were from the Tests, not the War…

      • publius_maximus_III

        With all due respect, Secundius, I believe you have confused Kwajalein Atoll with either the Bikini Atoll or the Enewetak Atoll.
        .
        Kwajalein was never the site of an atomic bomb test, and I assure you that lagoon was there during WW-II and many millennia prior.
        .
        My calculations say that 20 knots x 2 hours x 1.15 miles per nautical mile = 46 miles, quite a large lagoon to traverse.

        • Secundius

          @ publius_maximus_III

          Read what you wrote Sir, the are only two thing’s that can form a huge CIRCULAR REEF. One is an asteroid impact in the distance past. And the second being Atomic Testing. If a Asteroid Impact to place, the Lagoon would be much DEEPER.

          • publius_maximus_III

            You are again mistaken, Secundius.
            .
            Coral, a very tiny crustacean, is what forms a reef. Check Wikipedia or any other source. Most of a reef is the dead skeletal remains of previous generations of coral. Only the very top or outer layer is living “breathing” coral. Unfortunately, that is probably what the lost minesweeper ran aground against, possibly setting that section of the protected reef back many years.
            .
            As for the circular nature of these atolls in the Pacific, my guess is volcanic activity left behind a circular formation which was eventually eroded flat to the surrounding ocean, and to which the coral then began to attach.

        • Secundius

          @ publius_maximus_III.

          Also the Bikini Atoll, IS IN THE Marshall Islands Chain…

    • Secundius

      @ publius_maximus_III.

      The reason it took FADM. Chester W. Nimitz, 2-hours to traverse the Lagoon. Is because he didn’t use the Admiral’s Barge, he used a borrowed US. Army Self-Propelled Pontoon Barge. Which is not noted for speed. The reason it was called the “Admiral’s Barge”, is because HE was on it…

      • publius_maximus_III

        I wouldn’t have wanted to go much faster over the uncharted waters of a lagioon inside a formerly Japanese-held atoll. Who knows what might lie dead ahead: mines, a sunken ship, maybe even a CORAL outcropping?
        .
        I would guess any ship or barge the admiral stepped aboard would be obliged to hoist his five stars up the mast. Except perhaps under combat conditions, where such a juicy target would be too tempting for enemy gunners. Just ask ADM Yamamoto, although he wasn’t really advertising his rank or even his presence when his plane was ambushed by long range P-38 Lightnings.

        • Secundius

          @ publius_maximus_III.

          I doubt any Officer, let alone Nimitz’s Staff or Aid and Protection Detail would have allowed to make the passage. I they thought for longer than a “New York Minute”, if it wasn’t SAFE.

          In the case of Adm. Yamamoto, he took a “Gamblers” risk and drew a “Short Hand”. Unlike Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Yamamoto didn’t think the trick could be pulled of twice while he was in command…