As you might imagine when a wooden ship crashes into a coral reef at about 13 knots, the ship immediately got lodged into the coral and became unable to pull out. All indications are that the little wooden minesweeper simply didn’t have the engine power to pull itself off the reef, but even if she would have had enough power, backing off the reef could have caused even more damage to the wooden hull and potentially ripped the ship apart further thus sinking her right there on the reef. From what i understand, the ship took on water almost immediately upon grounding. In many ways, this is a worse case scenario where a wooden ship meets coral and loses, where as a steel hulled vessel with more engine power likely would have suffered much less damage and would potentially have been able to dislodge itself.
USS Guardian (MCM 5) is flooded internally to the tide line, with the Auxiliary Machine Room and Pump Room completely flooded. There is coral underneath the hull in both the Auxiliary Machine Room and the Engine Room. The internal bulkhead between the Auxiliary Machine Room and the Engine Room is no longer water tight, and the several internal bulkheads are slowly losing integrity. There are also several cracks in the superstructure, and as you can see in the photo there are several holes in the hull along the length of the ship.
Over at CDR Salamander’s, I asked when was the last time the US Navy lost a ship by grounding. I was quite surprised to learn it wasn’t very long ago. In 2000, the USS La Moure County (LST-1194) ran hard aground during exercises in Chile, and was a total constructive loss.
Tug VOS Apallo stands by USS Guardian (MCM-5)