Multiple Sailors Sickened After Jet Fuel Leaks Into USS Nimitz's Water

By Bill Galluccio

September 30, 2022

A shooter signals to launch an F/A-18E Super Hornet aboard USS Nimitz.
Photo: Stocktrek Images

The United States Navy said that at least five sailors have been sickened after drinking water on the USS Nimitz tested positive for traces of jet fuel.

Officials have not confirmed that the sailors' ailments are related to the tainted water. U.S. Third Fleet spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said that four of the sailors have been medically cleared, while the fifth continues to experience symptoms similar to acid reflux.

Officials said that traces of jet fuel were found in one of the carrier's potable water tanks during a pre-deployment cruise on September 16. After the contamination was discovered, the water systems were flushed and wastewater tests taken three days later found no evidence of jet fuel.

On September 21, the water tested positive again for traces of jet fuel. As a result, the Nimitz will remain docked at NAS North Island while crews try to determine what is causing the issue.

"Nimitz's scheduled underway date from NAS North Island was postponed in order to conduct further testing and evaluation of its potable water system. The ship has been connected to the city of San Diego's water supply since Sept. 17 and continues to provide fresh water to the crew. The health and wellbeing of our Sailors is a top priority, and the internal potable water system remains offline until we can be certain it can produce the highest quality water to the crew," Ens. Bryan Blair said in a statement to USNI News.

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