Efforts by the United States Navy and Japanese officials are underway in Okinawa to get a 821-foot-long American naval ship back into the water after it ran aground on the island on Thursday. According to the Navy, the cargo ship, the USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak, is stuck six nautical miles from Uruma, which is located on the island.
The ship is part of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, and they reported that there were no injuries among the ship’s civilian crew and military members who were on-broad at the time of the incident. There are 67 members of the U.S. Army, 26 Marines, and 38 civilian crew members on the ship.
As CNN reported, the ship is one of 100 noncombat naval ships that are part of the Military Sealift Command. All of the ships have civilian crews, and are used for specialized operations by the Defense Department.
According to Commander William Marks, who is a spokesperson for the 7th Fleet, the Navy is carefully accessing the situation to make sure the ship can be refloated safely.
“The safety of the civilian crew members and the environment are our top priorities. So we’re taking this situation very seriously and will continue to investigate the situation until it’s resolved. Tugs are on scene stabilizing the vessel and assessing the situation. No leaks from the hull have been found and no damage to the surrounding area has been reported.”
This incident marks a second time a U.S. naval ship has run aground within the year. As the Inquisitr reported, a Navy frigate ran aground last February after being sent to patrol the Black Sea before the opening of the Sochi Olympics. At the time it happened, the reason for the warship running aground was not released.
According to the Stars and Stripes, the 50,000 ton cargo ship was uploaded in Pearl Harbor, and it is designed to carry supplies and ammunition to support U.S. troops on the ground.
Members of the Japanese Coast Guard and divers will check the condition of the ship to ensure it can safely be set to sea again. When ships run aground, it can cause significant damage to the hull, propellers, and the surrounding structure of the ship. So far, no significant damage to the ship or the surrounding area where the grounding happened has been reported.