Author Topic: USS Guardian (MCM-5) minesweeper ran aground on Tubbataha Reef (2013)  (Read 2563 times)


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US pays Philippines over USS Guardian reef damage | BBC
The US has paid 87m pesos ($1.97m: £1.28m) to the Philippines in compensation for damage caused to a protected reef.

The Philippine foreign ministry said the money, the full amount requested, was paid in January and would be used to restore and protect the reef.

The USS Guardian minesweeper ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef, a Unesco World Heritage Site, in January 2013.

It caused damage to more than 2,345 sq m (25,240 sq ft) of coral.

Photo taken from

The USS Guardian sits aground on the Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines, Jan. 22, 2013. Work to cut up and remove the ship is expected to begin Friday.
Geoffrey Trudell/U.S. NAVY, Flickr

Aerial shot shows contracted vessels working on the dismantling of the USS Guardian off the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea, off the coast of the Philippines, March 12, 2013.
Anderson Bomjardim/U.S. NAVY, Flickr

Photo taken from GMA Network news

The U.S. Navy contracted crane M/V Jascon 25 removes the final hull section of the mine countermeasure ship USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef on March 30, 2013. Operations have shifted from salvage to assessing damage to the reef and investigations into culpability for the Jan. 17 grounding. (Kelby Sanders/U.S. Navy)


USS Guardian Grounding Investigation Results Released |


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Re: USS Guardian (MCM-5) minesweeper ran aground on Tubbataha Reef (2013)
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2018, 12:52:59 AM »

< Edited >

2. Executive Summary

a. Background. USS GUARDIAN ran aground on Tubbataha Reef on 17 January 2013 at 0222 (H). The grounding caused damage to a protected reef and necessitated a lengthy and expensive salvage effort that resulted in the total loss of one of 14 MCMs in the United States Navy inventory.

b. Causation. This tragic mishap was wholly preventable and was the product of poor voyage planning, poor execution, and
unfortunate circumstances. This investigation uncovers no single point of failure; instead, there were numerous links in
the error chain leading up to the grounding. Had any one of which been appropriately addressed, the grounding would have
been prevented. USS GUARDIAN leadership and watch teams failed to adhere to prudent, safe, and sound navigation principles which would have alerted them to approaching dangers with sufficient time to take mitigating action. The watch team's observations of visual cues in the hours leading up to the grounding, combined with electronic cues and alarms, should have triggered immediate steps to resolve warnings and reconcile discrepancies. Further, notwithstanding multiple, readily available sources of accurate information, the leadership and watch teams relied primarily on an inaccurate Digital Nautical Chart (DNC)® coastal chart during planning and execution of the navigation plan. Finally, USS GUARDIAN leadership failed to exercise due diligence to ensure the watch teams were knowledgeable and proficient, and failed to recognize that key personnel transfers within the navigation team had degraded USS GUARDIAN's navigation capability to an unacceptable level.

Ultimately, the lack of leadership led to increased navigational risk to the ship and her crew.

3. Findings of Fact

a. FoF 26 is relabeled FoF 26.a.

b. Add FoF 26.b. The CO's Standing Orders further direct the OOD to contact the CO, and then the XO, when within 8
nautical miles (16,000 yards) of the 10 meter shoal water depth curve. [Encl ( 24} ]

c. FoF 349 is approved as modified: Per XO/NAV, the CO, ANAV, and he viewed the Navigation Plan for the transit from
Subic Bay to Makassar as a group by using the VMS-3 laptop computer in the Chart Room. [Encls (9}, (10), {11), (19), (20), (123}]

d. FoF 352 is approved as modified: According to the XO/NAV, he ran a safety check on the track and found no dangers.
[Encl (20)]

e. FoF 357 is approved as modified: Per the XO/NAV, the CO was comfortable with the track after XO/NAV's review.
[Encl (20)]

f. Add FoF 596. During voyage planning, the CO was aware that the planned navigation track, when displayed on DNc®
GEN11A, went over the top of Tubbataha Reef. [Encls {9), (11), (123)]

g. Add FoF 597. The CO was aware that the planned navigation track when displayed on ONe® COA11D was at least four
nautical miles from the land features of Tubbataha Reef: South Islet, North Islet, and was 3.5 nautical miles from Jessie
Beazley Island. [Encls (9), (10), (11), {19}, (20), (123)]

h. Add FoF 598. The co was aware that DNC® GEN11A and DNC® COA11D did not display the land features of Tubbataha Reef: South Islet, North Islet, and Jessie Beazley Island in the same geographic position. [Encls (9) , (10) , (11) , (123)]

i. Add FoF 599. The CO made a determination to rely on DNc® COA11D based on his supposition that "it is 'well known'
that general charts are inaccurate." [Encls (9}, (10), (11}, (123)]

j. Add FoF 600. Per the CO's Standing Orders, when following a navigation track, the OOD shall not normally change
course/speed to avoid a contact without notifying the CO. [Encl (24)] EXE (b)(6)&(b)(7)(C}

k. Add FoF 601. Toward the end of QM3 watch on 16 January 2013, in reviewing the ship's track on VMS, he observed a small island north of Tubbataha Reef that was 10 nautical miles or more west of the ship's track. QM3 states that during turnover with QMSN he showed QMSN the small island as well as Tubbataha Reef. QMSN that he did not discuss the ship's track in the vicinity of Tubbataha Reef with QM3 during turnover. [Encls (30), (32)] EXE (b)(6)&(b)(7)(C)

1. Add FoF 602. The OOD determined before grounding that the ship was closer to the South Islet of the Tubbataha Reef
than expected based on the navigation plan, yet failed to take action to determine the ship's true position in accordance with the CO's Standing Orders. [Encls (21), (24)]

4. Opinions

a. Add Op 48. The CO, XO/NAV and ANAV failed to reconcile the differences between DNC® GEN11A and DNC® COA11D, which could have been reasonably done by comparing the position of the land features of Tubbataha Reef: South Islet, North Islet, and Jessie Beazley Island found in Publication 112 and/or Publication 162. [FoF (14) through (18}, (20) through (25}, (28) {29) 1 (139) 1 (154} 1 (228) t (307) through (351) (352) through (366) , (369), (370), (596) through (599)]

b. Add Op 49. The failure by the CO, XO/NAV, and ANAV to ensure consistent application of and compliance with prudent,
safe, and sound navigation principles and standards during underway execution contributed to the watch teams' over-reliance on the DNC® COAllD chart and failure to recognize the ship was headed toward danger. [FoF (14) through (18), (20) through (25) , (28) , (29) , (139) , (154) , (307) through {351) , (352) through (366), {369), (370)1 (377) through (430), {596) through (599)]

c. Add Op 50. The DNC® GENllA was loaded and available in VMS and was viewed by at least one Bridge watchstander.
[FoF (601)]

d. Add Op 51. The XO/NAV failed to recognize the OOD's second report {close CPA to Tubbataha Reef) was contrary to what
was expected-based on the navigation plan and failed to take appropriate action to reconcile the discrepancy. (FoF (112),
(113), {114)1 (602)]

e. Add Op 52. VMS human interface factors (e.g., alarm fatigue, volume controls, technical cartographer language used
in alarms and warnings, and visual challenges associated with night mode) may have desensitized the watch team or otherwise contributed to the watch team's inability to recognize the specifics of approaching dangers. [FoF {139), (140), (141)]

5. Recommendations. I approve and adopt the recommendations of the IO as modified by the Second Endorsement. Appropriate actions responsive to these recommendations will be taken by separate correspondence. In addition to reporting the findings from the navigation wholeness study related to training, I direct Commander, Naval Surface Force Pacific to coordinate with the Naval Electronic Chart and Display System (ECDIS-N) technical community, including engineers and programmers, to investigate and develop requirements for improving ECDIS-N human

< Edited >
« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 01:06:26 AM by adroth »