Friday, November 2, 2001

U.S. to fund Ehime
Maru victims’ therapy

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The cost of providing post-traumatic stress disorder care for victims of the February collision between the Ehime Maru and the nuclear submarine USS Greeneville over the next five years will be covered by the U.S. government.

That agreement was the result of ongoing compensation negotiations between the Ehime Prefecture and the U.S. Navy in Tokyo dealing with the Feb. 9 accident caused when the submarine surfaced into and sank the Ehime Maru nine miles south of Diamond Head.

The Navy is already spending $60 million to raise the 830-ton vessel from where it sank in 2,000 feet of water to move it 16 miles where divers can safely search its three decks for the nine missing people.

So far, the bodies of three crewmen, two teachers of Uwajima Fisheries High School and three of their students have been recovered and returned to their families.

The search continues today for the last remaining victim, Takeshi Mizuguchi, 17-year-old Uwajima Fisheries High School student.

Since Oct. 14, 60 Navy and six Japanese civilian divers have searched 80 to 85 percent of the Ehime Maru's three decks. The divers have made 312 dives and spent 231 hours in the water.

The Navy has said survivors and family members of those who died Feb. 9 have already filed claims against the U.S. government.

The Ehime Prefecture in western Japan also wants the U.S. to finance construction of a vessel similar to the Ehime Maru, which was owned by the Uwajima Fisheries High School.

The prefectural government plans to offer mental heath consultations by clinical psychotherapists for survivors and family members.

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