Grounded Navy ship now free from reef off the coast of Okinawa

By Vessels

After being removed from a reef located six miles off the Okinawa coast by the U.S. Navy on Tuesday, a Military Sealift Command vessel is once again fully operational and sailing at sea.

The USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak had 131 civilians and U.S. service members on board when it ran aground on January 22nd.

Image: US Navy

For these past two weeks, officials have been undergoing numerous efforts of refloating the vessel. The ship’s fuel was offloaded on Monday resulting in a sufficient weight drop making it possible for the vessel to break free from the reef during a high-tide cycle, as commented by the Navy in a news release segment.
The operation enabled the ship to transit under its own power to Naval Fleet Activities White Beach in Okinawa, the Navy added.

“In order to safely refloat the ship there were several requirement such as the right sea state, the proper tide and the proper weather conditions so that there could be less risks involved regarding the personnel, the vessel and the environment,” the release further said.

Japan and Navy officials are now conducting an assessment in order to determine the potential damage to the reef itself.

The causes behind the incident are currently being investigated.

Related News: U.S. naval vessel has run aground off Japanese coast