Grounded Minesweeper to be Dismantled
By Harold Hutchison
The minesweeper USS Guardian (MCM 5), which ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea, will likely be dismantled on the scene. The Navy’s decision likely spells the end for the Avenger-class minesweeper.
The decision was made after nearly two weeks, during which the minesweeper slid across the reef, causing more damage to the hull and more flooding. The Navy removed nearly 16,000 gallons of diesel fuel and lubricating oil, as well as the crew’s personal effects and paints, solvents, and dry food store.
The reef is a World Heritage Site, and has sustained some damage. The grounding is still under investigation by the Navy. The minesweeper is the first ship to have been lost accidentally since the landing ship tank USS La Moure County ran aground off Chile in 2000.
The loss of USS Guardian may have some serious effects on the Navy. The Navy will now be down one forward-deployed minesweeper.