The captain of the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt that is struck by the coronavirus, has written to the Navy leadership to take robust measures to ensure safety of the sailors on board.
In his four-page letter dated Monday (March 30), Captain Brett Crozier says that the carrier lacked required quarantine facilities and raised concerns that the current strategy will fail to eradicate the virus. Calling for a decisive action, the Captain requested to remove over 4,000 sailors from the ship and isolating them.
Crozier in his letter said that if the Roosevelt were needed for military action, it would “embark all assigned sailors, set sail and be ready to fight and beat any adversary that dares challenge the U.S. or our allies.”
He however said, “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,” Crozier wrote.
Roosevelt with 5000 people onboard, was in the Pacific when the navy reported its first coronavirus case a week ago. Since then, it is sitting dockside in Guam, a US island territory in the western Pacific.
He asked to be able to quarantine nearly the entire crew onshore at Guam, saying keeping them all on board the ship was an “unnecessary risk.”
Responding to the letter, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said, “I’m going to rely on the Navy chain of command to go out there to assess the situation and make sure they provide the captain and the crew all the support they need to get the sailors healthy and the ship back at sea.”
Reports claim that number of COVID-19 cases on board the aircraft carrier had crossed 70 as of March 31. Navy is expecting the rise in numbers.
A week ago the Pentagon confirmed three sailors on the Roosevelt had tested positive and that number had risen to 25 two days later. Cases have triples since then.
(With inputs from agencies)