BIG TICKET GIVEAWAY

Win 2 tickets to every event for a year! Click here to enter.

Present by The Daily Herald
The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Sunday, January 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

U.S. warship aground in Philippines had faulty map

  • The USS Guardian, a U.S. Navy minesweeper, on Thursday after running aground off Tubbataha Reef, a World Heritage Site in the Sulu Sea, 400 miles sout...

    Associated Press

    The USS Guardian, a U.S. Navy minesweeper, on Thursday after running aground off Tubbataha Reef, a World Heritage Site in the Sulu Sea, 400 miles southwest of Manila.

MANILA, Philippines -- An inaccurate map that mislocated a marine sanctuary may have caused a U.S. Navy minesweeper to run aground on a coral reef in the Philippines this week, the Navy said Saturday
All 79 officers and crew of the USS Guardian were taken off the ship for safety reasons after it struck the reef with its bow at 2 a.m. Thursday. The Navy's Pacific Fleet, based in Hawaii, said Saturday that its ships along with several support vessels continued to conduct salvage operations that minimize environmental effects to the reef.
The Navy said a review of Digital Nautical Charts, which are used for safe navigation by all U.S. Navy ships, found they contained inaccurate data and may have been a factor in the Guardian's grounding. As a result, Navigator of the Navy Rear Adm. Jonathan White released precautionary guidance to all Pacific Fleet ships, saying that "initial review of navigation data indicates an error in the location of Tubbataha Reef" in the Philippines.
"While the erroneous navigation chart data is important information, no one should jump to conclusions," said Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Darryn James. "It is critical that the U.S. Navy conduct a comprehensive investigation that assesses all the facts surrounding the Guardian grounding."
The Avenger-class ship had just completed a port call in Subic Bay, a former American naval base west of the capital, Manila, and was en route to Indonesia and then on to East Timor to participate in a training exercise when it hit the reef, about 80 miles southeast of Palawan Island.
The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines said that according to an initial inspection, the 74-yard-long, 1,300-ton Guardian damaged at least 10 yards of the reef, which UNESCO designated as a World Heritage Site. It is part of Southeast Asia's Coral Triangle, a huge stretch of ocean that contains most of the world's coral species, reefs, and more than 3,000 species of fish.
Angelique Songco, head of the government's Protected Area Management Board, said the government imposes a fine of about $300 per square yard of damaged coral, plus other fees.
In 2005, the environmental group Greenpeace was fined almost $7,000 after its flagship struck a reef in the same area.
Songco blamed the Guardian for turning away park rangers who wanted to board the minesweeper, but the Navy said it was cooperating with the Philippine government, a key U.S. defense ally.
Presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the government will observe the law governing the Tubbataha Reef, but right now "the primary concern is extricating the ship out of the reef with minimal damage."

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HeraldNet highlights

This is arena food?
This is arena food?: Xfinity rolls out shiny new menu for Tips games, other events
Big-top dreams
Big-top dreams: Young ringmaster followed his heart to the circus tent
'Maze Runner' gets lost
'Maze Runner' gets lost: Film has its moments, but seems overly familiar
All the right notes
All the right notes: 5th Avenue Theatre's 'A Chorus Line' feels fresh