Guardian officers lcdr mark rice daniel tyler

Lt. Cmdr. Mark Rice (left), and Lt. Daniel Tyler. US Navy Photo

For the many thousands of people who have followed the story of the ex-USS Guardian which ran up in a Philippine Reef this past January, the fate of the ship’s captain, Lt. Cmdr. Mark Rice, seemed pretty clear.  It was not a matter of if he was going to be fired, it appeared more of a question of when.

As of yesterday, Lt. Cmdr Rice, his Executive Officer/Navigator  Lt. Daniel Tylor, the ship’s assistant navigator, and the Officer of the Deck have been relieved of duty by Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley,  Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7.

The US Navy comments that an investigation continues however, according to a US Navy statement, initial findings clearly indicate that the above mentioned sailors did not adhere to standard U.S. Navy navigation procedures and were relieved due to their role in the grounding and a loss of confidence.

Lt. Cmdr. Robert Laird of the minesweeper USS Warrior will temporarily command the former Guardian crew until a new command team is named, according to Expeditionary Strike Group Seven spokesman, Lt. Brian Wierzbicki.

All four personnel have been temporarily assigned to ESG-7 pending the completion of the investigation.


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  • The Usual Suspect

    Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

    • QMC(SS)


      First off, the defect was in one of the two digital charts, rather than the navigation software itself. Semantics, I know, I just wanted to clarify.

      Most importantly…You are correct in your assessment that no exoneration is granted on that alone. The US Navy has specific procedures to mitigate and/or counter the possibility of discrepancies between charts (paper AND digital). The investigation concluded what most of us in the business already knew: Those procedures (among others) were not followed.

      Quite simply…The navigation software they were using has the ability to compare all digital charts covering a geographic area and alert the user to hazards found. These alerts occur automatically, but it is incumbent on the USER to actually EXAMINE what the software is alerting him/her to, rather than simply acknowledging the alarm and closing the window.

      The short version here is that the ship had:
      a. Ample indication that their planned route passed in close proximity to hazards well before they even left port, and
      b. Ignoring the above indications, had ample warning (almost an hour’s worth) that, due to the discrepancy between digital charts, what they were seeing on the chart did not match the view out the window.

  • Taylor Gregg

    Rob Almeida- “which ran up in a Philippine Reef” is not only bad syntax, but not really an accurate description of what happened. The Guardian ran aground trying to transit a reef at low tide. It did not “run up” anything, but lets say it had; “run up on” rather than “in” would have been a more accurate construction. The relieved officers are being investigated for possible dereliction of duty which may have resulted in the grounding. Am I nitpicking; yes, but strictly accurate prose is what is expected of a web site that proclaims itself to be a leader in maritime news.

  • USN QM Retired

    QMC(SS) makes two good points…..

    It has been 40 years since I served as Quarter Master on a destroyer in WestPac…. I would never second guess anyone but points A) and B) are correct…..Planning the voyage is always key and comparison of surroundings in the actual situation makes a huge difference…. I never had the chance to use digital charts but even with paper if a plot showed I was in 300 fathoms of water on paper and a sonar ping told me I was in 100 fathoms I knew my plot was “questionable” at best and would take additional fixes ASAP…..this is a form of “looking out the window”….so to speak….we always collaborated with the XO and OOD on plots and cross checks like these…regardless of rank by the way…. hope these guys did as well. I do wish these sailors good luck ….Let’s hope this gets sorted out quickly.


    • http://NONE PAUL

      Whe I was in the Navy, “Looking out the Window” was affectionately referred to as “The Mark One Eyeball”

  • apples

    So embarrassing for the Navy; I cringe every time I see it on the news.

    Don’t worry about grammar police, Rob: gCaptain is the best!

  • I.I. Cap’n

    Honestly, guys, I’m not trying to fling chum among the piranhas, but…

    …didn’t I just read a little while ago that USS Guardian was only JUST converted to ‘mixed’ berthing, i.e. boys and girls, late at night, sailing through the romantic Pacific island chain…

    Perhaps the electronic chart was, shall we say, obscured?

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