Skip to main content

Navy owes $1.5 million for damage to reef, Philippines says

By Brad Lendon, CNN
April 8, 2013 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
The stern of the USS Guardian, the last piece of grounded ship, is removed by a crane vessel on Saturday, March 30. The U.S. Navy minesweeper became trapped on a reef off the western Philippine island of Palawan on January 17. The Navy has pledged to clean up debris and restore the reef as much as possible. The stern of the USS Guardian, the last piece of grounded ship, is removed by a crane vessel on Saturday, March 30. The U.S. Navy minesweeper became trapped on a reef off the western Philippine island of Palawan on January 17. The Navy has pledged to clean up debris and restore the reef as much as possible.
HIDE CAPTION
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
End of the USS Guardian
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New survey shows grounded minesweeper did less damage than originally thought
  • Minesweeper ran aground on Tubbahata Reef on January 17
  • Ship's commander, three others relieved of duty, U.S. Navy says

(CNN) -- The U.S. government is getting its bill for the damage a Navy minesweeper did to a Philippine coral reef, and it's less than expected.

Philippine officials say the USS Guardian damaged 2,346 square meters (25,252 square feet) of Tubbataha Reef after it ran aground January 17. That's down from the original estimate of about 4,000 square meters (43,000 square feet).

And that means, under Philippine law, the United States owes $1.5 million in fines, the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board said in a posting on the Tubbahata Reefs Natural Park website Monday.

The fines are based on the amount of reef that has been damaged, the state-run Philippine News Agency reported.

The Tubbahata board said the revised damage estimate was made by a team of U.S. Navy and Philippine marine biologists from Wednesday to Friday.

The original survey was conducted January 27 while the warship was still on the reef.

The Guardian was completely removed on March 30, when the ship's stern, the last of four sections into which its 224-foot-long hull had been cut, was lifted from the reef by a massive seagoing crane.

"Using aerial imaging, the grounding zone was originally outlined using the ship's length as the basis for computing the total damaged area. This image was later observed to be obliquely angled thus artificially expanding the area plotted on mapping software," the statement on the park's website said.

The cost of the salvage operation to remove the ship from the reef was $45 million, Stars and Stripes reported Monday, citing a U.S. 7th Fleet spokesman.

An investigation into the grounding is ongoing, but last week the Navy relieved the commanding officer and three members of the minesweeper's crew of their duties based on initial results of the probe, a Navy statement said.

"The initial investigation findings clearly indicate that the CO, Lt. Cmdr. Mark A. Rice; the executive officer (XO)/navigator, Lt. Daniel Tyler; the assistant navigator; and the officer of the deck at the time of the grounding did not adhere to standard U.S. Navy navigation procedures," the Navy statement said. "The U.S. Navy has the highest accountability standards, and all four Sailors were relieved by Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley due to their role in the grounding and a loss of confidence."

Tubbahata Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to about 500 species of fish and 350 species of coral as well as whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and breeding seabirds.

READ MORE: Minesweeper lifted from Philippine reef

READ MORE: Bow cut from U.S. ship, lifted from Philippine reef

READ MORE: U.S. Navy commander apologizes for ship stuck in reef off Philippines

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The tragic killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a bitter public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0320 GMT (1120 HKT)
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, Unicef has warned.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
Boko Haram's latest abductions may meet a weary global reaction, Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi says.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
Drops, smudges, pools of blood are everywhere -- but in the computer room CNN's Nic Robertson reels from the true horror of the Peshawar school attack.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT