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Navy court to investigate USS Greeneville's top officers

Scorpio
A Navy drone used to assess underwater wreckage enters the Pacific  
  WEB EXCLUSIVE

Wreck site less than a kilometer from collision site


In this story:

Family members seek answers

Identified by name plate on stern

Interviews continue with crew, civilians

Final report will take at least a year

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) -- U.S. Navy Adm. Tom Fargo recommended a court of inquiry into the sub collision of February 9 that sunk the Ehime Maru, a Japanese ship. The investigation will examine the conduct of the USS Greeneville's top three officers.

The court will meet on February 21 in Pearl Harbor, Fargo said.

The Navy also released the names of the 16 civilians aboard the submarine at the time of the collision. (list of civilians names)

Earlier,the U.S. Navy, using a remote-operated vehicle, located the Japanese ship at the bottom of the Pacific, officials said Saturday.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Conrad Chun said the Ehime Maru was found by the ROV Scorpio II "sitting nearly upright in approximately 2,000 feet (610 meters) of water" in the Pacific Ocean.

The wreck came to rest on the ocean floor about 1,000 yards (less than a kilometer) from the collision site reported by the USS Greeneville, Chun said.

Nine people from the 55-meter (180-foot), 500-ton Japanese ship, which was carrying high school students on a research trip, are still missing; 26 others were pulled from life rafts soon after the collision.

 RESOURCES
Names of civilians on board the USS Greeneville during collision
 
 IN-DEPTH
 
 RESOURCES
 
 VIDEO
CNN's Martin Savidge reports on how the U.S. Navy located the sunken ship

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CNN's Gary Tuchman reports on reaction from family members of the sub collision victims

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A chiropractor who went on the Greeneville in 1997 shows his home video of the journey (February 16)

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The first officer of the boat sunk by the sub talks about his ordeal (February 16)

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Hear the distress call issed by the Navy after the collision

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AIFF or WAV sound (Transcript)
 
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TEST Demonstration of a Navy submarine's emergency surface
 

The four students, along with three teachers and two crew members, are presumed dead.

Family members seek answers

The Greeneville hit the Ehime Maru about 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of Diamond Head, near Honolulu, on February 9.

At the time, the Greeneville was performing a rapid ascent, or "emergency blow," with two civilians in key watch positions on the sub. They were allowed to operate controls on the sub under the supervision of Navy crew members, the Navy said.

Family members of those still missing held an emotional news conference on Friday, expressing both their sadness and anger.

"My son was a kind and peace-loving person. One of his wishes was that the world could live in peace," said Ryosuke Terdada, father of 17-year-old Yusuke Terdada, one of the missing. "To be killed by a submarine was the worst possible thing that could happen to him."

Earlier in the day, the family members were taken by bus to the Honolulu Coast Guard station, where they viewed items found from the vessel. Many of the relatives broke down, as did some Coast Guard personnel.

Identified by name plate on stern

Chun said the Ehime Maru was first identified at about 11:30 p.m. Friday (0930 GMT Saturday). Cameras aboard the ROV identified the ship's name plate on the stern.

There was no information on the condition of the ship, Chun said. However, Kazuhiko Koshikawa, a spokesman for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, said that U.S. officials reported the ship to be in one piece.

A second deep-sea submersible called Deep Drone joined Scorpio II Saturday to augment the survey of the wreckage, Chun said. Deep Drone, flown in for the mission from Delaware, was being controlled from the USS Salvor.

The drone was used in the search operations surrounding the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 and the crash in 1999 of EgyptAir Flight 990 over the Atlantic Ocean.

Chun also said he had no information on whether efforts would be undertaken to raise it.

"Whether that can be done or not will be determined later," Chun said.

He said the Navy would continue to use the ROV, which skims along the bottom of the ocean, to try to gather more information about the vessel.

"We are doing what we can and cooperating very closely with the Japanese government and we will continue to do so," Chun said.

Interviews continue with crew, civilians

National Transportation Safety Board official John Hammerschmidt said drug and alcohol tests done on the crew of the Japanese vessel and on 25 Greeneville crew members were negative.

Testing of the Japanese crew was requested by the U.S. Coast Guard as part of the investigation, Hammerschmidt said.

He also said that interviews were completed with four of the 16 civilians who were on board the Greeneville, a 7,000-ton Los Angeles-class nuclear attack vessel, when it hit the Japanese ship. He said those interviews were conducted by telephone.

Investigators hope to finish interviewing the Greeneville's crew members by Monday, Hammerschmidt said, but he didn't know when the interviews with the civilians would be complete.

The NTSB said it will interview Waddle, who has been relieved of his command of the Greeneville and reassigned, pending the outcome of the investigation, on Sunday or Monday.

Final report will take at least a year

The Navy has ordered submarine commanders not to allow civilian visitors to sit at sub control panels and also has told the commanders not to perform emergency surfacing maneuvers with civilians on board, pending completion of its investigation.

The Navy has said it will continue to allow civilians aboard its vessels during military exercises because the practice is one of the service's most effective public relations tools.

The NTSB predicted it will issue a final report on the incident in 12 to 15 months.

If the investigation reveals that proper safety procedures were not followed, Waddle could be court martialed for criminal negligence, Pentagon sources told CNN.

CNN Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre and Correspondent Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Civilians barred from sub controls during probe
February 16, 2001
First report on sub collision could come this week
February 15, 2001
Search to end for 9 missing from submarine collision
February 14, 2001
Two civilians were at controls of sub during collision
February 13, 2001
Hope fades for submarine collision survivors
February 12, 2001

RELATED SITES:
U.S. Coast Guard
Japanese Prime Minister
U.S. Navy
 • CINCPACFLT statement on the USS Greeneville incident
 • Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
 • USS Greeneville
National Transportation Safety Board

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