A burnt down U.S. Coast Guard cutter docked in Yokosuka, Japan on Tuesday for inspection and possible repairs days after a fire on board injured five crew members.
Black smoke was reported on the Waesche cutter (WMSL 751) at 5:18 p.m. local time on Sunday as the ship was deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, the coast guard said.
Crews on board were able to contain the flames in the ship’s exhaust stack and adjacent spaces, and all fires were confirmed to be extinguished after 90 minutes of fighting the fire.
“The swift response and courageous efforts of the crew members aboard the Waesche to contain and quickly extinguish the fire is a testament to the bravery and skill of this crew,” said Captain Jason Ryan, Commanding Officer of the Waesche.
Five crew members sustained minor injuries during firefighting efforts, and all were treated by medical personnel aboard the ship, according to a Coast Guard statement.
The Coast Guard said the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage are currently under investigation and further inspection will take place at Fleet Forces Yokosuka. The cutter may need repairs at Yokosuka, which is home to the US Navy’s ship repair facility and the Japan Regional Maintenance Center.
Commissioned in 2010, the Waesche is the second 418-foot Legend-class coastguard and one of four National Safety Vessels based in Alameda, California. the Coast Guard fleet.
The cutter left its home port on August 22 and is currently under the tactical control of the U.S. 7th Fleet as part of routine U.S. presence operations in the Indo-Pacific, where the Coast Guard has reinforced his presence in recent months. Last year, the Bertolf and Stratton cutters were deployed for a total of 326 days in the Western Pacific.
The vessels participate in training exercises with regional partners, help combat illegal fishing and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions against North Korea by monitoring and collecting intelligence on vessels conducting surveys. ship-to-ship transfers in eastern China, southern China and the Yellow Sea.