• Kyodo


The new Ehime Maru, built to replace the fisheries training ship that sank in a collision with a U.S. submarine in February 2001, was given a welcome ceremony when it arrived Tuesday morning in Hawaii.

Local fireboats conducted a tail-water salute for the vessel as it entered the port of Honolulu under clear skies.

The new Ehime Maru left Ehime Prefecture’s Uwajima port May 7 for a two-month training mission involving 14 Uwajima Fisheries High School students, two teachers and 20 crew members. On Monday, Uwajima Fisheries Principal Kazumitsu Joko flew to Hawaii to join the students and crew.

One of the students, Daisuke Shinoto, 19, is a survivor of the 2001 accident.

The group plans to stay in Hawaii through Saturday before sailing back to Japan.

The students attended a welcome reception organized by the Japan America Society of Hawaii.

“We have been looking forward to the resumption of the training program, although we bear deep sorrow and agony over the accident,” Joko said at the reception. He thanked the people of Hawaii who worked to bring about the Ehime Maru’s port call.

The group also visited the Ehime Maru monument in Kaka’ako Waterfront Park, after inviting students aboard from St. Louis High School’s Japanese Club who have been taking care of the monument.

Speaking at a news conference at the port, Shinoto said he offered flowers from the ship when it passed the accident site and said, “I recalled the accident, but it wasn’t painful anymore.

“The tender thoughts of the local people warmed my heart,” he said when asked about the ceremonies.

About Shinoto’s decision to again train aboard ship, Joko said, “We were slightly worried at first, but we believe he has grown from what he experienced.”

The new Ehime Maru, at 499 tons, has the same tonnage as its ill-fated namesake, which sank Feb. 9, 2001, when it was struck from below by the USS Greeneville. The sub was performing a rapid-surfacing drill for civilians on board.

Although the Greenville’s skipper, Cmdr. Scott Waddle, was reprimanded by a navy court of inquiry, he was allowed to retire maintaining his rank.

Five sailors and four students died in the accident while 26 others were rescued. The bodies of eight of the nine victims were later retrieved in a salvage operation.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.