Mishap at sea
SURVIVORS n Survivors of the Japanese fishing boat, Ehime Maru, make their way to shore after being rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard Friday. A Navy submarine collided with the Japanese fishing boat nine miles off Honolulu Harbor. AP photo.
Feb. 10, 2001
HONOLULU (AP) A Navy submarine collided with a Japanese fishing boat nine miles off Honolulu Harbor on Friday, and ten people were missing after the boat sank.
Navy and Coast Guard vessels were searching for the missing people. The boat carried 34 or 35 people, and 26 were plucked from the water or life boats.
The USS Greeneville was on routine patrol south of Oahu when it surfaced about 1:45 p.m. and its stern collided with the fishing boat, said Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell, spokeswoman for Commander Navy Base, Pearl Harbor.
The submarine was not damaged, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Cate Mueller, said in Washington. She said the Navy has begun an investigation.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Chris Johnson said the boat sank quickly. The survivors were rescued by a 41-foot Coast Guard utility boat and a smaller Coast Guard rubber inflatable, he said.
The survivors were taken to the Coast Guard station at Honolulu Harbor's Sand Island. Some walked off on their own; others were carried on stretchers and covered in blankets.
Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Greg Fondan said none appeared to be seriously injured. A wounded shoulder appeared to be the worst injury, he said.
Initially, 10 people of a reported 35 people on board the boat were reported missing, but the Coast Guard later said only 34 people may have been on the boat.
It was not immediately known how many crew were aboard the Greeneville, a Pearl Harbor-based nuclear-powered attack submarine.
It was remaining on scene to help in the search for survivors, Campbell said.
In Washington, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said President Bush was told about the incident.
The Coast Guard identified the boat as the Ehime Maru, a 180-foot boat from a vocational fisheries high school in southwestern Japan.
Public television NHK in Japan said there were 20 crew members, plus two teachers and 13 students from the Uwajima Fisheries High School in the southwestern Japanese prefecture of Ehime.
Telephone calls by The Associated Press to the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency went unanswered.
The Greeneville was commissioned in February 1996. The Los Angeles-class sub is 360 feet long, has a diameter of 33 feet and displaces 6,900 tons submerged. It is equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The crash is the second major mishap involving a Navy vessel near Hawaii in seven months. In July, the USS Denver, a 570-foot amphibious transport dock ship, was preparing to receive fuel from the USNS Yukon, a Military Sealift Command oiler, about 180 miles west of Oahu when the two vessels collided.
No one was injured, but the 677-foot Yukon sustained heavy damage to its right side and the Denver had a 25-foot-deep gash in its bow.
A Navy investigation reportedly found the captain and first officer of the Denver should have realized they were on course to hit the Yukon.