UWAJIMA, Ehime Pref. – Relatives of nine Japanese lost at sea and 26 survivors of the Feb. 9 collision between a Japanese fisheries training ship and a U.S. submarine have voiced their anger over a report that the sub’s captain is unlikely to be court-martialed.
In a report to Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, three admirals who sat on the bench of the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry into the collision reportedly recommended Friday that Cmdr. Scott Waddle, the former captain of the Greeneville, should not be court-martialed.
“I’ll be very angry if I learn officially that the court-martial will not take place,” Kazuo Nakata, 55, said Saturday. His son Jun, 33, was one of two Ehime Maru fishing instructors still listed as missing after the nuclear sub surfaced under the training ship, which was from Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime Prefecture.
“This was not an accident, it was an incident,” said Toshio Kamado, 50, whose son Atsushi, 17, survived the sinking. “I expect the U.S. Navy to court-martial Mr. Waddle. He should take criminal responsibility.
“The students who survived want a direct apology from Mr. Waddle. I want him to visit Uwajima and apologize to us in uniform before he (retires from the navy),” he said.
Commenting on reports from Hawaii suggesting that Waddle is likely to retire instead of being fired after receiving a salary cut, Teruo Terata, 59, whose student nephew Yusuke, 18, was lost in the collision, said he is angry. “I don’t understand why those responsible for the collision remain in the navy,” he said. “If they had been in (Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force), I assume they would have been fired immediately after the accident.
“The Japanese government should demand a report from the United States explaining why the court-martial will not be held.”
Ehime Gov. Moriyuki Kato said in a statement that the details of the recommendation should be released to the public as the Court of Inquiry itself was open.
The collision occurred about 18 km south of Oahu Island when the 6,080-ton Greeneville surfaced beneath the 499-ton Ehime Maru while conducting an emergency rapid-ascent drill for 16 civilian guests.
The Ehime Maru sank and nine Japanese, including four students who were taking part in a fisheries training program, are presumed dead.