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Ehime Maru Laid To Rest

A Japanese training fishing vessel sunk by a U.S. submarine settled into its final resting place Sunday as a short ceremony was held for the nine men and teen-age boys killed in the accident.

The $60 million recovery operation came to an end 12 miles south of Barbers Point on Oahu as the Ehime Maru was allowed to sink in more than 6,000 feet of water.

Representatives of the families of three of those killed Feb. 9 witnessed the event from the Japanese submarine rescue ship JDS Chihaya. The USS Salvor, a Pearl Harbor-based rescue and salvage ship that participated in the recovery effort, stood by as a mark of respect.

The 830-ton Ehime Maru has remained submerged since Feb. 9, when it was hit by the USS Greeneville while the submarine was demonstrating a rapid-surfacing drill off Diamond Head. The nine victims went down with the vessel, and 26 people were rescued.

The vessel sank in 2,000 feet of water, too deep for divers to search the wreckage.
Straps were attached to the Ehime Maru, and it was lifted from the ocean floor and towed underwater closer to shore. It was set down in 115 feet of water.

Navy and Japanese divers recovered eight bodies in October. The body of Takeshi Mizuguchi, a 17-year-old Uwajima Fisheries High School student, was never found.

The divers also recovered personal effects, as well as items requested by the Japanese government, such as the vessel's nameplate and bell.

The Ehime Maru's final journey began Saturday, when it was suspended 90 feet beneath a barge that was towed by a tugboat to the deep-water site.

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