John Hall, one of 16 civilians who were aboard the American submarine Greeneville, while it collided with Japanese trawler Ehime Maru, said that he was keeping his hands on the control sticks at the moment of the collision. The captain asked him if he would like to pull the levers to execute a rapid resurfacing procedure, the civilian told NBC show “Today”. He agreed to do it with pleasure. The submarine began to go up. A member of the crew, standing next to him, was holding the hands of the civilian to make sure, that he was doing everything in the right way. And after that the submarine rose out of water and “there was a very loud noise and the entire submarine shuddered." According to Mr Hall, submarine captain Commander Scott Waddle, said "Jesus, what the hell was that?", before looking through the periscope and saying they had hit a boat. The Captain informed all the higher headquarters about the collision, but he has not even tried to save the crew of the boat, BBC reports. Pentagon officials explained this fact by the difficulty of taking people aboard the submarine, arisen on the surface. The incident is rapidly turning into a diplomatic disaster for the president, who had hoped to strengthen military ties with Japan following a catalogue of incidents involving US troops based on Okinawa island. In the telephone conversation Japanese Foreign Minister Yohey Kono expressed his protest to the US State Secretary Colin Powel because of the fact that Washington had not informed Japanese officials about the part of civilians at the submarine. Even the US Navy command already admits that the civilians aboard the submarine could distracted the crew. Besides, many people doubt of the accuracy of the measures the Captain took after the collision. For the time being US Navy has not provided the records of sonar signals to the civil committee for investigation the reasons of the collision. All of these represents a real danger to the US Navy image in the view of international community. It will be rather difficult for George Bush administration to improve the things, not to mention the adjustment of normal relationships with Japan, one of the most important allies of USA.
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