1981: USS George Washington Sank a Japanese Ship after Surfacing

1981: USS George Washington Sank a Japanese Ship after Surfacing
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / The Washington Family by Edward Savage

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 9 April 1981
  • The crew of the U.S. submarine apparently did nothing to help the injured Japanese sailors. Two Japanese were killed, and 13 of them were rescued by other ships.

The crew of the U.S. submarine, named after George Washington, apparently did nothing to help the injured Japanese sailors. Two Japanese were killed, and 13 of them were rescued by other ships.

On this day in 1981 U.S. nuclear submarine USS George Washington surfaced at the moment when the Japanese cargo ship Nissho Maru was directly above her.

The ship, weighing 2,390 tons, was badly damaged on impact and sank in about 15 minutes. The submarine crew apparently did nothing to help the injured Japanese sailors. Two Japanese were killed, and 13 of them were rescued by other ships.

The Japanese government criticized the U.S. and demanded an explanation as to why the submarine surfaced only about 20 kilometers outside Japan’s territorial waters, and why the injured sailors were not helped.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly expressed regret and offered compensation to Japan. The blame for the incident was put on the U.S. Navy. The submarine suffered only minor damage to her fin in the collision.

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