Monday, December 16, 2002

Former submarine captain
apologizes to young Ehime Maru
victim’s parents

Associated Press

TOKYO >> The former captain of a U.S. nuclear submarine that sliced through and sank a Japanese fishing boat apologized today to the parents of one of the crew members killed in the accident.

Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Scott Waddle met Ryosuke and Masumi Terata in Tokyo to express his condolences for their son, Yusuke, who was among the nine killed aboard the Ehime Maru, a vocational fishing school vessel.

Waddle was at the helm of the USS Greeneville when it surfaced beneath the Ehime Maru, sinking the vessel off the coast of Hawaii on Feb. 9, 2001. The Ehime Maru had been carrying 35 students, teachers and crew from Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime state, about 420 miles southwest of Tokyo.

To respect the wishes of other victims' relatives, the Teratas arranged their meeting with Waddle away from Uwajima.

Yesterday, Waddle visited the fisheries school to place flowers and bow in silent prayer at a school monument to the dead. He later met with four young survivors and their families.

Because many victims' relatives had said they did not want him to visit, no school officials, teachers or students came to see him pay his respects, and local officials held no official ceremony.

Waddle had vowed to visit the victims' hometown before retiring last October, but Navy officials asked him not to go until compensation deals were mostly settled.

Last month, the families of 33 of those aboard the trawler agreed to a reported $13 million compensation package from the U.S. Navy. Negotiations between the Navy and two other families are continuing separately.

In April the Ehime government agreed to $11.47 million in U.S. Navy compensation for the costs of the vessel, equipment, cargo, crew salaries, mental health care for the survivors and a memorial. Part of the payment was used to build a $9.25 million replacement boat unveiled last week.

Waddle was reprimanded by a U.S. military court of inquiry but was allowed to retire at full rank and pension -- and then landed a job at a U.S. firm -- sparking criticism in Japan that his punishment was too light.

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