The US Navy reports this morning that all 79 crew members have been transferred from the stricken USS Guardian (MCM-5) while 7th Fleet salvors works to try and free the vessel which is solidly aground on Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines.
The sailors were safely transferred by small boat to the nearby support vessels USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) and MSV C-Champion.
“Seventh Fleet ships remain on scene and essential Guardian Sailors will continue conducting survey operations onboard the ship as needed until she is recovered,” said Vice Adm. Scott Swift, U.S. Seventh Fleet commander. “Several support vessels have arrived and all steps are being taken to minimize environmental effects while ensuring the crew’s continued safety.”
The Avenger-class mine countermeasures 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 US Navy’s salvage operation continues today in close coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines while an investigation into the cause of the grounding continues.
Full Coverage: USS Guardian Grounding