In 2005, when the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea, the captain claimed that the reef was incorrectly plotted on his charts. As reported by the UK’s Guardian in November 1, 2005:
Red Constantino of Greenpeace Southeast Asia blamed the incident on a maritime chart that showed that the Rainbow Warrior was supposed to be 1 ½ miles away from the reef when it ran aground. He said within minutes of the incident, Greenpeace contacted the marine park ranger station. “This accident could have been avoided if the chart was accurate,” he said. “We feel responsible, however.”
It appears that the charts may not have been corrected in the intervening seven years, as the US Navy is now also blaming the Thursday morning grounding of the USS Guardian on Tubbataha Reef on inaccurate charts.
“The Navy said in a statement that a review of Digital Nautical Charts, which are used for safe navigation by all U.S. Navy ships, found they contained inaccurate data and may have been a factor in the Guardian’s grounding. As a result, Navigator of the Navy Rear Adm. Jonathan White released precautionary guidance to all Pacific Fleet ships, saying that “initial review of navigation data indicates an error in the location of Tubbataha Reef” in the Philippines.”
The USS Guardian is reported to still be stuck on a reef in the Philippines’ Tubbataha National Marine Park. All all 79 crew members were reported to have been transferred to the support vessels USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) and MSV C-Champion after unsuccessful efforts to free the Guardian on high tide.