U.S. Navy Provides 500,000 Gallons of Fresh Water to Fukushima Power
By Joe Schmitt, Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka
Posted: March 26, 2011
YOKOSUKA, Japan - Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY)
began transferring fresh water to two fuel barges, which will be
used to support cooling efforts at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
power plant March 25.
A total of 1.89 million litres (500,000 gallons) are being
distributed between the barges that have been cleaned of fuel to
support fresh water. The first Barge YOGN-115 departed CFAY at
approximately 11:00 a.m. and will be escorted by a Japan Maritime
Self Defense Force multipurpose support ship JS Hiuchi (AMS 4302).
The second barge is scheduled to leave within the next 24 to 48
hours. The water will eventually be used to replace the seawater
currently being used in cooling efforts at the plant.
“We have two barges here,” said CFAY Operations Officer Lt. Cdr.
Michael Weatherford. “They can both hold up to approximately 300,000
gallons of fresh water each. But the max capacity is reduced to make
the barges seaworthy for ocean travel,” Weatherford explained. “The
request was for one million gallons so when I told them we could get
500,000 gallons we started working on getting these barges released
from our custody over to the [Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force].”
Officers from the JMSDF were present on the pier to watch workers
finish the final preparations before the barges left.
“This method was planned by the Japanese government after holding a
council with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and others,” said
JMSDF officer, Capt. Fumiyuki Kitagawa. “After having a discussion
with other ministries and agencies, [the Japanese government]
decided to have Japan Maritime Self Defense to carry barges to
Fukushima this time.”
“Once it leaves Yokosuka, we figure about seven knots travel speed
because it’s going to be towed by the JMSDF in the open ocean,” said
Weatherford. “We’re estimating that it should reach its destination
about 50 kilometers south of Fukushima within 35 hours from
After watching the barge leave, Kitagawa had a personal message for
the people that had helped make this event happen.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Americans and
the U.S. Navy personnel who provided us with prompt response in the
wake of the earthquake. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)
and the U.S. Naval ships off the coast of Sanriku are still
searching for the missing people and delivering foods to the victims
in the shelters together. The hearts of the U.S. Sailors have been
reaching Japanese people. I really appreciate it and am very proud
that JMSDF and the U.S. Navy once again can work together. Thank you
all, again,” said Kitagawa.