Sunken AAV recovered on Okinawa
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A commercial contractor Friday recovered a Marine amphibious assault vehicle that sank off the coast of Camp Schwab during training a month ago.
The U.S. Marine Corps, with the aid of Okinawa Marine Service, pulled the vehicle out of the nearly 10 feet of water it had sat in since June 9, according to Marine spokesman Capt. Danny Chung.
The more than 46,000-pound vehicle was raised to the surface by a crane before the contractor placed it onto a barge. The water inside the vehicle was then pumped into a bladder to contain any possible pollutants.
The contractor will dispose of the water at a later date, Chung said.
The vehicle was to be taken to Camp Schwab for repairs and further investigation into what caused it to sink, Chung said. Marine officials have said that the roughly $2.3 million vehicle will be returned to the United States for repairs if it can’t be fixed on Okinawa.
Chung said Marine officials still are working closely with local authorities to examine any potential environmental harm.
“The Marine Corps takes safety and environmental impact seriously, and it regrets any anxiety the June 9 incident may have caused the residents of Okinawa,” Chung said.
Yoritaka Hanashiro, executive director of the prefectural Governor’s Office, said word of the recovery was welcome.
“We were relieved to learn that the vehicle was recovered,” he said. “Early recovery was what we were hoping for from the standpoint of safety of those people who engage in fishing activities in the area.
However, what concerns us is that the recovery work was done without giving us an opportunity to conduct an environmental study.
“We will continue to discuss the issue with the military to allow us to conduct an environmental study of the site, including the condition of the seabed.”
The vehicle sank during routine training after experiencing mechanical problems, according to Marine officials.
The four crewmembers escaped with minor injuries.