• Kyodo

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Two of the four Americans picked up by a Japanese training ship from their disabled sailing boat near Hawaii have expressed their gratitude to the Japanese crew, a Honolulu newspaper reported Tuesday.

Carl Vanderbeek, skipper of the Goodnight Moon, told the Honolulu Advertiser that the four’s rescue by the Funakawa Maru from Akita Prefectural Kaiyoh (Marine) Technical High School was “absolutely marvelous.”

The incident occurred just days after the Feb. 9 disaster in which the 499-ton Japanese fisheries training ship Ehime Maru sank near Hawaii after being hit by the U.S. Navy’s 6,080-ton submarine USS Greeneville.

“It just seemed to me that there was some sort of irony in that Japanese training vessel out there plucking Americans out of the water shortly after this had happened to another Japanese training vessel,” Vanderbeek’s son, Mark, was quoted as saying.

Twenty-six Japanese were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after the sinking of the Ehime Maru. Nine others, including four teenage students of Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime Prefecture, are missing and presumed dead.

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