UWAJIMA, Japan >> Members of a Hawaii-based group that established a fund to aid victims of the fatal accident that sank the Ehime Maru training ship of Uwajima Fisheries High School on Feb. 9 visited the victims' families in Japan.
Hawaii group offers
consolation to Ehime Maru
Navy seeks funds to raise ship
Kyodo News Service
Earl Okawa, executive director of the Japan-America Society in Hawaii, told the families yesterday that while their anguish and sorrow may never be healed, he hopes the society will help console them if consolation is possible.
Okawa then handed to the families a list of donations totaling $160,000 and letters that the society has received.
Ryosuke Terata, father of Yusuke, one of the four students missing after the accident and presumed dead, handed a thank-you letter to Okawa.
"We would like to express our sincerest gratitude for your support while we were in Hawaii," he said in the meeting that took place at Uwajima City Hall. Mayor Hirohisa Ishibashi also attended the meeting.
After the meeting, Okawa and others visited the school.
Before arriving in Uwajima, Okawa and others met Ehime Gov. Moriyuki Kato at the prefectural government office in Matsuyama and conveyed their condolences.
Kato told them that the victims' families hope a monument will be erected in Hawaii, and asked them for information on an appropriate site.
Japanese-American organizations in Hawaii, such as the society and a Japanese-language radio station, set up a fund for the victims after the accident.
The 6,080-ton U.S. submarine USS Greeneville struck and sank the 499-ton Ehime Maru off Hawaii while the sub was conducting an emergency surfacing drill for the benefit of civilian guests.
The accident left nine of 35 Japanese on board missing -- four students, two of their teachers and three crewmen.
In April the captain of the Greeneville, Cmdr. Scott Waddle, was stripped of command of the nuclear-powered submarine and given a reprimand.
The Navy is seeking $36 million to pay for recovering the bodies of those killed in the Feb. 9 collision of the Japanese fishing training ship Ehime Maru and the submarine USS Greeneville nine miles off Diamond Head.
Navy seeks funds
to raise ship
Star-Bulletin staff and wire
The funds are part of a $5.6 billion supplemental budget request for the current fiscal year.
The Navy's initial plans call for gradually raising the sunken ship to shallower waters -- about 90 feet -- where salvaging operations could take place using divers.
An environmental assessment of raising the 499-ton Ehime Maru from where it sits 2,003 feet down on the ocean bottom is being studied by Navy, state and federal officials.
State officials from the Department of Land and Natural Resources also are trying to determine whether a conservation use permit would be needed to move the 190-foot vessel to state waters.
The salvage operation could begin by the end of the year.