The Complex

Photos of the week: The Navy’s wooden-hulled warships

Happy Friday. Here are your photos of the week. Bet you didn’t realize that the U.S. Navy still has wooden-hulled warships? The photo above shows the USS Guardian trapped on a reef in the Pacific Ocean being scrapped. Notice how the ship’s paint has been stripped away by waves revealing the wooden hull. Why a ...

U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense

Happy Friday. Here are your photos of the week. Bet you didn’t realize that the U.S. Navy still has wooden-hulled warships? The photo above shows the USS Guardian trapped on a reef in the Pacific Ocean being scrapped. Notice how the ship’s paint has been stripped away by waves revealing the wooden hull.

Why a wooden hull? The Guardian is an Avenger-class mine hunter, the same type of ship that the U.S. deployed eight of to the Persian Gulf when tensions ran high with Iran last summer. Wooden hulls give the ships an extra layer of protection against magnetic mines set up to explode when a large chunk of floating metal — like a ship — passes close by. Specifically, the hulls of the 14 Avenger-class ships are made from oak, Douglas fir, and Alaskan cedar, which, in addition to reducing the ships’ magnetic signature, apparently helps them to better withstand the blast from a mine.

Guardian ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea on January 17. After failed attempts to free her from the shallow reef — which was misplaced on the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency-supplied digital maps the Guardian’s crew was using (and you thought Apple Maps were bad) — the Navy decided to dismantle and scrap the 224-foot-long ship on site.

Here are some more photos of her stranded and being salvaged:

Hat tip to Stars and Stripes

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