US Navy Still Attempting To Free Minesweeper Stuck On Coral Reef

The U.S. Navy is still trying to free a minesweeper than ran aground Thursday on a coral reef in the Philippines. Efforts to free the 1,312-ton USS Guardian at high tide failed.

"Seventh Fleet ships remain on scene and essential Guardian sailors will continue conducting survey operations onboard the ship as needed until she is recovered. Several support vessels have arrived and all steps are being taken to minimize environmental effects while ensuring the crew's continued safety,” said U.S. Seventh Fleet commander Vice Adm. Scott Swift.

The accident happened Thursday shortly after the Guardian left Subic Bay. The 224-foot-long vessel was traveling though the Tubbataha National Marine Park en route to its next port call when it struck the reef. Philippines officials say it is unclear how much of the reef was damaged.  

Seventy-two of the seventy-nine Guardian crew members were transferred to the USNS Bowditch and the MSV C-Champion after the accident. The 7 crew members will remain on board to monitor the ship. If conditions become unsafe, they will also be transferred to support vessels.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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