4 officers of the ill-fated USS Guardian minesweeper were relieved from their assignment immediately after the last piece of the ship was lifted from the Philippines’ Tubbataha reef on March 29.
7th Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Scott Swift gave the removal order after investigation found evidence that the commander of the USS Guardian and 3 others have failed to “adhere to standard US Navy navigation procedures.”
The Navy Times disclosed two of the sacked officers as commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. Mark Rice and the ship’s executive officer and navigator Lt. Daniel Tyler.
The same source withheld the names of the assistant navigator and the officer of the deck for privacy reason.
The four erring officers have been temporarily assigned to the minesweeper Warrior, which came from Japan, while the USS Guardian was being dismantled, according to the Navy Times.
The US Navy according to a report spent P1.8 billion to haul the sawed-off Guardian from Tubbataha.
Assessment of the damage of the corals was initially placed at 4,000 square meters. Based on provision of law, the Tubbataha Reef Management office said it would charge the US navy P24,000 per square meter.
Coast Guard commandant Rodolfo Isorena said they would try to release the assessment within this week
TMO divers and United States personnel with Coast Guard acting as support agency.are doing the assessment.
Markers and global positioning system devices were placed on the Tubbataha Reef area where the USS Guardian got stuck, said Isorena.
The ill-fated 223-foot (68-metre) USS Guardian got stuck at the UNESCO World Heritage Site-Tubbataha Reef at Sulu sea for more than 2 months, from January 17 to March 29.
Ship-borne crane Jascon 25 and Smit Borneo were instrumental in the dismantling of the doomed USS Guardian. The salvaged or cut parts will be shipped to the US Navy Facility in Sasebo, Japan, where they will be sorted, said Coast Guard Palawan commander Enrico Efren.
4 USS Guardian officers sacked
US Navy replaces 4 over Philippine reef grounding