MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – A fisheries high school in Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture, on Tuesday marked the 14th anniversary of an accident in which an U.S. nuclear submarine surfaced beneath a school training boat off Hawaii, sinking it and killing nine occupants.
About 300 people, including students and relatives of the victims, observed a moment of silence at 8:43 a.m., the time the accident took place, while a bell retrieved from the sunken Ehime Maru tolled nine times, once for each victim.
The vigil took place at Uwajima Fisheries High School.
“We don’t want to think about it, as it was an outrageous incident. But it is a day that we should certainly not forget,” the school’s principal, Tsuneo Taino, told the mourners.
Kaito Tanimoto, 17, the student council president and a second-year student studying maritime engineering, said afterwards: “I will work hard . . . and become a Japan Coast Guard officer, as I want to save people’s lives.”
A similar memorial ceremony was held in Honolulu on Monday.
The accident occurred on Feb. 9, 2001, off Oahu Island when the 6,080-ton submarine USS Greenville burst to the surface.
It struck the 499-ton training boat, which sank. Four of 13 students aboard, as well as two teachers and three crew members, were killed.
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