Videos published by a sailor on the US Navy aircraft carrier dubbed the USS Abraham Lincoln reflected grey sludge from drinking sinks and fountains on the ship some days after the officials determined the vessel’s drinking water was polluted with bilge water.
The insider managed to get the video and connected with a sailor. The latter mentioned that the water “was horrible” and how extensively sailors used it to drink, cook, and bathe. He said that the water sometimes looked “black.”
The sailors first noticed that the water had a weird odour and a “cloudy appearance” on 21 September, per a statement from the Navy released in October. Testing was carried out the next day. Reportedly, E Coli bacteria were found in some potable water tanks.
Video Credits: Jake Epstein / YouTube
But, the bacteria were not causing the strange smell or the discolouration. A month after the initial discovery, the Navy declared that the ship’s water supply was polluted by bilge water. The latter is non-potable wastewater, which gets collected in the bowels of the vessels when it is operating.
Per the sailor who was reporting to the Insider, some of the crew members developed stomach problems on consuming the water, while some others suffered from rashes.
The Navy mentioned in its statement in October that no signs of illness were found among the sailors.
The sailor communicating with the Insider remembered waking up on 21 September and taking a drink from a nearby water fountain.
It tasted horrible, the sailor recalled, adding that the flavour reminded him of fuel.
Naturally, the sailor mistakenly thought he might have smelled fuel from the flight deck and attributed it to the drinking water.
At breakfast, sometime later, the sailor said that he heard some shipmates complaining about the water’s taste and smell on the vessel.
They claimed the sailors’ commanding officer never announced anything about the water until after the crew members had taken their showers and consumed it.
Per the sailor, the commanding officer confirmed later that E Coli was found in the drinking water but said they were not sure if that was good/bad. The sailor said they were never suggested not to consume that water.
The Navy sent out bottled water to crew members. However, the sailor sharing information with the Insider said that these bottles were hard to find.
They went on to claim that vending machines on the ship ran out of water and weren’t restocked, which compelled the crewmembers to depend on soda and Gatorade to remain hydrated.
Naval Air Forces Commander Zach Harrell reported to the Insider that the vessel was docked in San Diego on 3 October. The water supply was then connected to the water of the city. He further mentioned that the polluted tanks were also isolated.
References: Business Insider India, Independent