Daily Event for February 9

February 9, 2001 the USS Greenville SSN-772 rammed and sank the Japanese school vessel Ehime Maru off Hawaii. The Greenville had on board several VIP's and was demonstrating submarine operations. The commander, Scott Waddle, decided to perform an emergency main ballast tank blow for the distinguished visitors when the accident happened. Before the maneuver Waddle brought the submarine to periscope depth and looked around in the area they were going to surface, he did not see the Japanese ship. He later admitted that he did not come up far enough to view the area adequately.

In the official report the Navy laid the blame squarely on Waddle and several other key members of the crew. Commander Waddle responded by saying "It was an ugly event, but the one guy who is responsible is the captain and the buck stops there."  Taking full responsibility for the incident.

The Ehime Maru was owned by the Uwajima Fishing High School in Japan. She was one of many Japanese ships used as maritime schools. Many of these ships take students on cruises of two months or more. On this cruise the Ehime Maru had 35 people on board. Sadly nine were killed in the collision, four teenage students, two instructors and three members of the crew. The Ehime Maru was raised by the US Navy and compensation was paid to the families of those who were killed.

© 2006 Michael W. Pocock

Ehime Maru