HONOLULU – More than 200 people gathered Friday at a waterfront park near Honolulu to mourn the nine people who died in the 2001 sinking of the Ehime Maru after it was struck by a U.S. submarine off Oahu.
They offered a silent prayer in front of a memorial cenotaph at 1:43 p.m., the moment the 499-ton fisheries high school training ship from Ehime Prefecture was struck from below by the 6,080-ton USS Greenville.
A ceremony was also held at the fisheries high school in the city of Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture. More than 350 people, including former students on board the ship, gathered in the school’s gym and offered a prayer at 8:43 a.m. Saturday, which corresponds to the Hawaiian time when the accident took place.
Ehime Gov. Moriyuki Kato attended the Hawaii ceremony.
“While our heart remains hurt by the accident, it is my wish the people in Hawaii and Ehime Prefecture will be united in heart and deepen their bond,” Kato said in an address.
Tatsuyoshi Mizuguchi, 54, the father of Takeshi Mizuguchi, a 17-year-old student at Uwajima Fisheries High School who is presumed to have drowned in the accident, expressed his gratitude to the people of Hawaii on behalf of the bereaved families.
“So long as I am physically capable, I would like to come here every year,” he said.
The accident claimed the lives of four students, two teachers and three crew members. They were among 35 people on board the ship.