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USS Greeneville (SSN 772) incident

Japanese salvage experts view U.S. Navy survey operations

U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (Feb. 26, 2001) -- Five Japanese salvage experts and a representative from the Japanese Consulate here visited USS Salvor (ARS 52) today to see Navy survey operations by the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Drone. The team left Pearl Harbor this morning aboard a Navy boat, which took them to Salvor's location about nine miles south of Waikiki where Ehime Maru sank Feb. 9.

During the day-long visit, the group also saw the side-scan sonar called Shallow Water Intermediate Search System or SWISS aboard Salvor. Deep Drone and SWISS cannot operate simultaneously from the same support vessel.

The group consisted of Hiroshi Sato, chief of the oceanography office of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Keiichi Yokota of the office of the secretary of the cabinet; Hiroyasu Monma of the Ocean Science and Technology Center's research department; Hiroyasu Takemoto of the Ministry of Transportation's Laboratory of Shipping Technology; Haruo Kawakami of Fukada Salvage Co. Ltd. and Kouichi Shiota of the consulate's office in Honolulu.

The undersea surveys began Feb. 16 with SWISS, Deep Drone and another Navy ROV Scorpio II, which operated from the Motor Vessel C-Commando.

U.S. Navy and Japanese salvage experts will examine the data collected by the side-scan sonar survey and video from the two ROVs and make a recommendation on whether salvaging Ehime Maru from a depth of 2,000 feet is feasible. The experts are also examining other items, such as drawings of the ship.

These experts will not make the final decision on whether to salvage the ship, but will instead make recommendations to the U.S. government, which will then decide based solely on technical feasibility.

The Japanese salvage experts arrived in Honolulu Feb. 21 and immediately started a series of meetings with U.S. Navy officials. At the outset, Japan and the United States had agreed that salvage experts from both sides would cooperate and consult closely when studying the feasibility of a salvage operation.

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Revised: 2/26/01