Captain of the aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy
The captain of a U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded has called for urgent help to halt a coronavirus outbreak on his ship.
The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, docked in Guam, has over 4,000 crew members.
“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” reads the letter by Captain Brett Crozier, published by The San Francisco Chronicle.
In the letter to senior military officials, Crozier said only a small number of infected sailors have been off-boarded. But “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”
He asked for “compliant quarantine rooms” onshore in Guam for his entire crew “as soon as possible” as following official guidelines for 14-day quarantines and social distancing is impossible aboard the ship.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told CNN that the Navy was working to get the sailors off the ship. “I heard about the letter from Capt. Crozier .. I know that our command organization has been aware .. we have been working actually the last seven days to move those sailors off the ship and get them into accommodations in Guam” Modly said.
The problem, however, is that Guam doesn’t have enough beds right now and they are talking to the government there to see if we can get some facilities.
“We’re doing it in a very methodical way because it’s not the same as a cruise ship, that ship has armaments on it, it has aircraft on it, we have to be able to fight fires if there are fires on board the ship, we have to run a nuclear power plant, so there’s a lot of things that we have to do on that ship that make it a little bit different and unique but we’re managing it and we’re working through it,” he added.
“We’re very engaged in this, we’re very concerned about it and we’re taking all the appropriate steps,” Modly said.
At least 700 US service members have tested positive for the coronavirus and the first military death was announced on Monday.