PHOTOS: USS Guardian dismantled

These extraordinary pictures show how the U.S. Navy is using a crane to dismantle one of its ships which is stranded on a reef in the Philippines.

The minesweeper USS Guardian yesterday had its entire bow, or front section, cut off and removed.
Photographs of the large-scale operation show the ship's extraordinary wooden hull as well as providing a fascinating cross-section of the 225ft vessel.

Scroll down for photos.

When the removal of the Guardian is complete, the $277million minesweeper will be totally scrapped, three months after it ran aground on January 17.

A replacement minesweeper, the USS Warrior, is being transferred to the Pacific to relieve the Guardian, the Navy said.

The minesweeper ran aground on the UNESCO World Heritage site in the middle of January and an investigation into the grounding is still ongoing.

Navy engineers decided their only option is to destroy the 225-foot ship by cutting it up and hauling it away on a barge, instead of trying to drag it off the reef.

The vessel, which would cost $277million to replace, is 23 years old and one of just 14 of her type in the Navy.

It was on its way from Subic Bay, Philippines, to its next port call in Indonesia when it struck the reef, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east-southeast of Palawan Island in the Sulu Sea.

Attempts to free the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship at high tide were unsuccessful. Its crew was evacuated to other vessels, and the ship was battered by waves that pushed it farther onto the reef.--Source: The Daily Mail

Avenger-class minesweepers have their hulls built of wood and fibreglass, rather than metal.
This reduces the chance that the ship can be targeted by mines by lowering its 'magnetic signature', and provides extra protection in the event of a blast.
Constructing wooden hulls to some extent requires a return to traditional ship-building techniques, from the time when timber rather than metal was routinely used for ocean-going vessels.
Tough woods such as oak, Douglas fir and Alaska cedar are fashioned into the shape of the ship's hull, then covered in a mixture of plastic and fibreglass.
The ship is then painted grey so that it resembles the metal of an ordinary naval vessel.

PHOTOS: USS Guardian dismantled PHOTOS: USS Guardian dismantled Reviewed by Leun Sotragues on 6:21 AM Rating: 5

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