USS Nimitz: Navy says water filled with jet propellant is safe, but pictures and their actions say otherwise

After our last update on the situation involving JP5 fuel leaked into the fresh water supply on the USS Nimitz, multiple publications released their own stories, including American Military NewsUSNI NewsRealClearDefenseStars and StripesMilitary.comNavy Times.

American Military News was given the following statement on September 21, 2022:

On September 16, 2022, aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) identified traces of jet propellant-5 (JP-5), used to fuel carrier-based aircraft, in the ship’s potable water supply while operating off the coast of southern California. The crew immediately took action to secure access to the ship’s potable water and provide bottled water to the crew. After conducting a thorough flush and inspection of its potable water system, fresh water has been restored to the ship. The water onboard the ship is safe for use and the health and wellbeing of all of our Sailors is a top priority.

Lt. Cmdr. Adam Demeter, a spokesperson for the aircraft carrier

After the command stated the water onboard was safe for use, over a dozen sailors serving on the USS Nimitz messaged us and refuted that statement. One individual sent a picture of the water in their coffee pot, taken on September 22, which they had attempted to wash multiple times only to have foam sitting on the top of the water every time.

What? You don’t ask for your water with foam on top?

In the articles I’ve linked which cover the incident after our initial report, the command has attempted to minimalize the events by officially stating that the crew took immediate action, yet first hand reports state otherwise.

Many stated they weren’t told until the next morning

The most disturbing part of this whole situation are the reported efforts by the command team to coverup the incident by refusing medical care to sailors for symptoms related to ingestion of the jet propellant laced water.

One of several accounts stating sailors have been denied medical care

We haven’t received verifiable proof the command has denied anyone medical care, however, based on the numerous first hand messages stating sailors were sick from ingestion, and an official statement from a naval spokesperson who said there were no confirmed cases of anyone getting sick, it’s not hard to believe this to be accurate.

The Navy [has] no instances of confirmed sickness for sailors aboard the carrier.

Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces

What we can confirm, however, is that the USS Nimitz crew were told they were set to leave port by Friday, September 23, yet they have been delayed until Monday, September 26.

We can’t confirm why they were delayed, but dozens and dozens of pallets of water were pictured being loaded on the ship.

Probably safe water

A Military Times article could explain why the command is refusing to acknowledge anyone got sick from the fuel infused water. According to the article, “Troops injured in medical malpractice cases on board military ships would be able to seek compensation from the Defense Department under a proposal unveiled Wednesday.” It goes on to state, “that policy does not cover injuries sustained aboard military ships’ clinics, operating rooms and intensive care units, leaving a gap for families of servicemembers injured in those incidents.”

This could potentially mean that the DOD would be on the hook for compensation to the sailors on board the vessel who became sick, though if the sickness was never documented or officially acknowledged, then nothing could be done.

We’ll continue to follow this story in an effort to hold leadership accountable to the thousands of servicemen and women on the ship. In the meantime, US Troops always have the option to visit TRICARE online and request a visit and new complaint. This will create a record of which an appointment can be made.

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Karen Williams
Karen Williams
1 year ago

This is terrible.

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