A US Navy whistleblower accused on Saturday his superiors on the USS Nimitz of allowing the sailors to be exposed to an unhealthy amount of kerosene-based jet fuel by letting them drink contaminated water laced with the fuel.
The whistleblower sailor, whose identity wasn’t revealed out of concern that he might face retribution from the Navy for speaking out, has also alleged that crew members were later denied medical help when they were sickened by the contaminated fluid.
After members of the nearly 3,000-person crew noticed discoloration and a foul smell in the water that they use for drinking and showering in mid-September, they reported the incident to the ship’s commanding officer and executive officer.
Although they initially advised the crew to drink only bottled water, they later lied about the severity of the fuel leak and announced that the USS Nimitz’s normal water supply was safe to use.
On top of that, crew members who sought medical attention after suffering symptoms such as nausea and skin rashes they believed to be related to their exposure to jet fuel, were allegedly turned away with medical telling them that it will pass through.
The sailor explained that when Nimitz’s water tanks were opened for inspection two days after the discoloration and bad odor were first reported, there was a thick layer of JP-5, a common type of kerosene-based jet fuel, on top of the potable water.
The whistleblower, who provided a photo of a glass container of water with a thick green layer on the top and a murky white layer on the bottom, said that sailors were told to test the water’s taste and smell for at least the following ten days.
Admitting that ten crew members of USS Nimitz had reported health issues that could be related to JP-5 ingestion, Navy spokesman Commander Sean Robertson emphasized that their top priority are the health and well-being of the sailors.