According to Wikipedia, a minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to counter the threat posed by naval mines. Minesweepers keep waterways clear for shipping. A US Navy minesweeper is reported to run aground within the Philippines area of responsibility. It hit rock-bottom and got stuck on the Tubbataha Reef on Wednesday night during normal course, the report said.
The reports adds to say that extent of damage to the ship as well as the cause of the accident was still not determined. The government of the Philippines was duly informed of the accident and offered help for the ill-fated ship The US Navy’s website said the 224-foot or 68-meter USS Guardian is assigned in Sasebo, South Japan but no info is available what it was doing in the area when it hit trouble
Tubattaha Reef is a protected sanctuary in the Sulu Sea some 130 kms or 80 miles southeast of Palawan, Philippines. It has walls of corals, and a very diverse ecosystem that environmentalists say rivals that of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
No report of coral damage and fuel spillage was made by the US embassy. All its crew members were reported safe, it added. The Philippine military confirmed the grounding Thursday, but said it was too early to say whether coral was damaged.
Military spokesperson in Palawan Major Oliver Banaria said that the most probable cause is “mis-navigation.”
Philippines is US non-NATO ally in Asia. It hosted some of the US military’s biggest bases in Asia until 1992, when the last troops went home after the Senate voted to end lease agreement
Manila ratified a visiting forces agreement (VFA) with the United States 7 years later, giving the way for joint military exercises.
About 600 US forces have been operating in the southern Philippines since 2002 to train local troops against Al Qaeda-linked militants.