MCM 5 Guardian
On March 30, 2013, the removal of the grounded mine countermeasures ship Ex-Guardian from the Tubbataha Reef was officially declared to have been completed when the final section of the hull was lifted from the reef. That section consisted of the stern section and weighed approximately 250 tons.
On January 17, 2013, while transiting the Sulu Sea, USS. Guardian ran aground at approximately 2:25 a.m. on Tubbataha Reef's south atoll, approximately 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island, near the Philippines. No injuries were suffered during the grounding. In addition, no fuel was reported to have leaked since the grounding and all of the ~15,000 gallons aboard Guardian were safely transferred off the ship during two days of controlled de-fueling operations soon after the grounding.
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, having canceled a scheduled fuel stop to Puerto Princesa.
On 1 February 2013, the Navy announced that the 23-year old USS Guardian (MCM 5) would be dismantled and safely removed from the reef in sections. Naval architecture and salvage experts had assessed that other alternatives, such as by towing or pulling the ship off the reef, would possibly cause more damage to the reef and the ship's hull, and most likely result in the vessel breaking up or sinking. Prior to the announcement, the Navy had worked to salvage any reusable equipment, retrieve the crew's personal effects, and remove any potentially harmful materials including petroleum-based products and human wastewater.
The USS Guardian was the 5th Avenger Class Mine Countermeasures ship to join the U.S. Navy's fleet and the second ship to bear the name GUARDIAN. Her mission was to counter the threat to US forces and allies from all types of naval mines. USS GUARDIAN represented the most capable mine countermeasures platform ever constructed, capable of mine detection, mine neutralization and mine clearance in strategic U.S. and foreign ports and key ocean areas in order to maintain vital commercial shipping lanes.
One of fourteen Avenger Class ships, the GUARDIAN was commissioned on December 16, 1989 and was built by Peterson Builders, Inc. in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. To accomplish her mine countermeasures mission, she is equipped with an AN/SQQ-32 sonar system and an Alliant Techsystems AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization robot. The hull is constructed of wood laminated with layers of fiberglass. Propulsion is provided by 4 Isotta-Fraschini 600HP engines connected to two controllable pitch propellers. Guardian's length is 224 feet, with a width of 39 feet and a displacement of over 1,300 tons. Her maximum speed is around 14 knots. The USS GUARDIAN is forward deployed in Sasebo, Japan.
Ship's Shield and Crest
The Ship's shield contains dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy. The sea is reflected in the crested division and the color white. White recalls sea foam and breakers. The two white interlocking chevron shapes enclosing a detonating mine allude to the ship's cable tethered devices as well as offensive and defensive mining of important sea areas. They also personify the MCM's highly sophisticated capabilities of minesweeping to search, detect and neutralize mines. The trident, symbol of sea power, combined with the lightning bolt highlights traditional as well as modern naval warfare. The lightning flash is also a reminder that a high degree of automation and electronics technology is essential for a fast response in mine warfare.
The crest's griffin, who is sharp of eye and keen of ear, is an appropriate symbol for the USS GUARDIAN. This mythological beast is also noted for its vigilance, courage, and strength. Its collar, in our National colors, honors the preceding USS GUARDIAN, a Radar Picket Ship launched in 1945. The anchor, adapted from the Rhode Island State flag, and the pineapple symbolizes the ship's first homeport Newport, RI. The total design underscores the Navy's reliance on mine warfare to clear critical sea lanes in the event of war.
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