WASHINGTON – The commander of the U.S. submarine that collided with a Japanese fisheries training ship in February is likely to appear before a noncriminal hearing within days and could face administrative punishment, including demotion, NBC television reported Monday.
The decision by the three judges on a U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry not to make Cmdr. Scott Waddle face a court-martial means the inquiry into the accident could be concluded within days, NBC said.
Waddle will probably be ordered instead to appear as early as Wednesday before an admiral’s mast — a noncriminal administrative hearing — which will be presided over by Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander of U.S. naval forces in the Pacific, it said.
Fargo would decide whether Waddle was guilty of misconduct for his actions during and after an emergency rapid-ascent maneuver conducted for 16 civilian guests aboard the sub, NBC said.
If Fargo were to find Waddle negligent, he could be fined a month’s pay and lose rank and benefits when he retires, it said.
A punitive letter would almost certainly be placed in Waddle’s file, effectively ending his navy career, it said.
The USS Greeneville collided with the Ehime Maru off Hawaii on Feb. 9, leaving nine Japanese lost at sea.
In Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, relatives of the nine Japanese lost at sea in the collision plan to sue the U.S. Navy for compensation, Ehime Gov. Moriyuki Kato said Monday.
Kato told a news conference the families are planning lawsuits to discover more about the accident. The Ehime Prefectural Government is prepared to help by introducing them to lawyers, he added.
Other kin of the nine lost in the collision could seek compensation through direct negotiations with the navy. The training ship belonged to the Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime Prefecture.
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