- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 24, 2013

The USS Guardian, which was grounded on a Philippine reef on Jan. 17, is badly damaged and taking on water, according to a U.S. Navy official.

The Navy minesweeper will have to be lifted off the rocks, but strong waves creating dangerous conditions for divers have been hampering the process and Philippine and U.S. authorities predict the rescue could take up to two weeks.

Rear Adm. Thomas Carney, commander of the Navy’s Logistics Group in the Western Pacific, told reporters that the USS Guardian can’t be moved without first siphoning off 15,000 gallons of fuel. The site of grounding is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tubbataha Reef.

No one was injured in the grounding. The USS Guardian’s 79 officers and crew were transferred to two other ships in the hours following the grounding.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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