Japan will send two shipbuilding experts to observe the salvage of the Ehime Maru, a Japanese vessel that sank off Hawaii in February after being struck by a U.S. Navy submarine, government officials said Wednesday.

Isshin Fujii of Shin Kurushima Dockyard Co., which built the high school fisheries training vessel, will leave today and return Sept. 4 together with Hiroyasu Takemoto, an official of the transport ministry-affiliated National Maritime Research Institute, the officials said.

Fujii, director of the construction planning division of the Tokyo-based company, and Takemoto, head of the institute’s Structure Mechanics Division, will participate in the attempt to move the Ehime Maru by salvage ship to a more shallow location, the officials said.

The ship lies in about 600 meters of water off Oahu Island. The salvage ship Rockwater 2 will attempt to lift it and tow it to a shoal so that divers can search for the nine missing Japanese believed to be entombed in the vessel.

The 499-ton ship, which was being used for training by Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime Prefecture, sank Feb. 9 after the U.S. sub Greeneville collided with it during a rapid-surfacing maneuver.

The nine missing, including four students, were among 35 people on board at the time of the accident.

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