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US navy ship stuck on heritage site

Minesweeper runs aground at Tubbataha Reef

US navy ship stuck on heritage site
File photo of naval minesweeper USS Guardian reporter, Manila

January 17, 2013

A US Navy minesweeper has run aground on the Tubbataha Reef off the central Philippine island of Palawan.

The USS Guardian got stuck on the reef, which is a World Heritage Site, at about 2:25am local time Thursday, the US Navy said in a statement.

No one was reported hurt in the incident, the statement said.

“The Avenger-class ship had just completed a port call in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, and was en route to her next port of call when the grounding occurred,” the statement read.

“The ship is currently stuck on the reef, approximately 80 miles [148 kilometers] east-southeast of Palawan Island. The crew is currently working to determine the best method of safely extricating the ship,” it added.

It said an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the grounding.

The USS Guardian, which is based in Sasebo, Japan, has a crew of about 80 men.

The ship arrived in Subic Bay last Sunday for a “routine fuel stop.”

A Philippines armed forces spokesman said an aircraft and a ship have been sent to the scene to “determine what assistance we can provide them.”

In October 2005, a ship belonging to environmental group Greenpeace also ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef. Greenpeace said inaccurate maritime charts led to that incident.

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