“USS Guardian leadership and watch teams failed to adhere to prudent, safe, and sound navigation principles which would have alerted them to approaching dangers with sufficient time to take mitigating action,” wrote Admiral Cecil D. Haney, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in the 160-page investigation into the grounding of the USS Guardian.
Adm. Haney characterized the ex-Guardian’s grounding on Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea as a “tragic mishap,” and notes that a “lack of leadership” led to the watch team’s disregard of visual cues, electronic cues and alarms in the hours leading up to the grounding, and that an ultimate reliance on what would turn out to be inaccurate Digital Nautical Charts (DNC) during the planning and execution of the navigation plan ultimately led to a degradation of the ship’s navigation ability.
The commanding officer of ex-Guardian, Lieutenant Commander Mark Rice, the executive officer/navigator Lieutenant Daniel Tyler, the assistant navigator, and the officer of the deck at the time of the grounding were relieved of their duties on April 3 by Rear Admiral Jeffrey A. Harley, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7.
All received non-judicial punishment for the incident.
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