‘Sailors do not need to die’: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier asks US government for help as coronavirus infects more than 100 on board

‘If we do not act now we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset’

James Crump
Tuesday 31 March 2020 16:25
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The captain of a US nuclear aircraft carrier has pleaded for help from the Navy, amid a growing coronavirus outbreak on the vessel, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Theodore Roosevelt nuclear aircraft carrier, which is currently docked in Guam in order to quarantine the personnel, has more than 100 cases of the virus on board and its captain has asked the Navy for support in order to provide adequate isolation facilities.

Brett Crozier, the captain of the ship sent a letter to the Navy asking for the crew of 5,000 to be isolated completely in order to try and stop the spread of the outbreak.

The letter obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle outlines that the health and safety of the sailors onboard should be the priority right now.

“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Mr Crozier wrote. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset -- our Sailors.”

Mr Crozier asked for the personnel to be removed from the ship, saying that the risk involved is necessary to protect them.

“Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure...This is a necessary risk,” he wrote.

“Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.”

The captain admitted that if the US was at war then the sailors would have to remain, but added that “we are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily”.

“Decisive action is required now in order to comply with CDC and (Navy) guidance and prevent tragic outcomes.”

Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told reporters last week that all of the personnel would be kept on the ship in order to tackle the outbreak.

“No one on the crew will be allowed to leave anywhere into Guam other than on pierside. We are already in the process of testing 100 per cent of the crew to ensure that we’ve got that contained,” Mr Modly said.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, upwards of 164,785 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 3,173.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended a two-week ban on gatherings of more than 50 people as part of the battle to contain the spread of the contagion.

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