A ship under US Navy command has run aground in the Sulu Sea, in the Philippines on Thursday, January 17, at about 2:25 a.m. local time.
The Avenger-Class USS Guardian (MCM 5) has been listed as a minesweeper, in a report by Fox News. The Navy's 7th Public Affairs Fleet posted a statement on their website, noting that no member of the crew was injured during the grounding.
80 people were on the ship when it reached the shore at Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, the Philippines' Global Nation notes. The publication also mentions that eight Filipino-Americans crew members are on board.
The vessel had previously stopped in the Subic Bay port, in Olongapo City. It refueled in the port on January 13, and was heading to its next destination, Puerto Princesa. The Sasebo, Japan-based ship was scheduled for overnight docking in Subic.
“The ship is currently stuck on the reef, approximately 80 miles (128 km) east-southeast of Palawan Island. The crew is currently working to determine the best method of safely extracting the ship,” the official statement reads.
It hit a reef with approximately 15 percent of its bow, according to Angelique Songco, head of the government’s Protected Area Management Board.
“It does not appear to be damaged,” she adds, after flying in a Philippine Air Force plane to assess the status of the ship.
The cause of the grounding has not been discovered as of yet. A preliminary examination revealed that the Guardian was not leaking oil before its abrupt stop.
Since the reef has been damaged in the crash, the Navy will most likely incur fines by the Filipino government. The fines add up to $300 (€225) per square meter (1.19 square yards) of corals destroyed.