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A Japanese submersible vehicle sent to assist in the salvage of the Japanese fisheries training vessel Ehime Maru, which sank off Hawaii after being struck by a U.S. submarine in February, will search the seabed to recover the personal effects of the crew, the education ministry said.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said Friday that the unmanned underwater search vehicle, named Kaiko, will conduct the five-day search in early September, after the salvage operation is completed.

The ship is presently lying on the seabed at a depth of about 600 meters. Once it is moved to a shallow shoal off Honolulu, Kaiko will search an area within a radius of 1 km of the collision site over a period of three days, the ministry said.

The search vehicle will then search 18 km of seabed for two days along the ship’s route from its current location to its new one.

Kaiko will use a camera in its search and will recover belongings that it finds with robot arms.

On Feb. 9, the 499-ton Ehime Maru was hit by the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Greeneville while the sub was conducting an emergency surfacing maneuver for civilian visitors aboard.

Nine of the 35 people aboard the ship were lost in the collision, including four students from Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime Prefecture.

Families informed

UWAJIMA, Ehime Pref. (Kyodo) U.S. Navy officers on Saturday provided details of the salvage operation for a Japanese high school fisheries training ship to relatives of those lost when the vessel was sunk off Hawaii by a U.S. nuclear submarine in February.

The officers, led by Rear Adm. Robert Chaplin, met the relatives in Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture. The Ehime Maru belonged to Uwajima Fisheries High School in Uwajima and many of the nine people lost in the incident were from the area.

The navy officers told the relatives of the recovery work to date and provided a schedule for the recovery of the ship from 600 meters below the surface to a shallow shoal and the recovery of the bodies believed to be trapped inside.

The salvage work was to begin Monday but the navy said the schedule may be delayed for around a week due to poor weather.

The navy said that between five and seven people may still be inside the ship.

Ryosuke Terata, the 45-year-old father of Yusuke, who was 17 when he was lost, said he wants to recover even a small piece of his son’s clothes.

On Feb. 9, the 499-ton Ehime Maru was hit by the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Greeneville while the sub was conducting an emergency surfacing maneuver for civilian visitors on board.

Nine of the 35 people aboard the ship were lost in the collision, including four students from the school. None of the bodies have been recovered.

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