Japan investigates delay in reporting USS Fitzgerald collision

Cameron Gross
June 28, 2017

The U.S. Navy says the bodies of the seven American sailors killed in a collision between their destroyer and a container ship off the Japanese coast have headed home.

Earlier, the 7th Fleet said the USA ship sustained damage on its starboard side and experienced flooding in some spaces.

The search for seven U.S. Navy sailors missing after their destroyer collided with a container ship off Japan was called off Sunday after they were found dead in the ship's flooded compartments, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

This undated photo released by the U.S. Navy, Monday, June 19, 2017, shows Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio.

Bodies of seven USA sailors recovered after the US destroyer collided with with Philippine-flagged vessel CX Crystal near south of Tokyo Bay in Japan.

The sister of a U.S. Navy sailor from CT who was killed in a collision between a destroyer and a container ship off Japan is describing her brother as "selfless".

The ACX Crystal, a massive Philippine-flagged merchant ship, collided with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald off the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan over the weekend.

Numerous crew on the U.S. ship were asleep when the collision tore a gash under the waterline on the warship's starboard side, flooding two crew compartments, the radio room and the auxiliary machine room. Navy officials say the ship also had a big gash on the bottom. "The damage was significant", he said.

Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley said in a statement that he and the Navy were saddened by the loss. The bodies were taken to Naval Hospital Yokosuka were they were identified and family notifications were made. "However, the timeline of events will be part of the investigation", a spokesman for 7th Fleet said in an email. Coast guard officials said they are looking for a recording device on the container ship that could help them determine whether it communicated with the destroyer before the collision.

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"As you can see now the ship is still listing and so they had to fight the ship to keep it above the surface".

Originally, Japan's coastguard said the crash happened at 2:20 am Saturday (1720 GMT Friday) based on when it was reported by the Crystal's crew.

"Because of the tireless damage control efforts of a resolute and courageous team, the ship was able to make its way back to port safely on its own power last evening", Aucoin said in the release.

Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin, the Seventh Fleet commander, was asked on Sunday if damage on the starboard side indicated the US ship could have been at fault, but he declined to speculate on the cause of the collision.

An investigation into the deaths is now under way after Saturday's (June 17, 2017) collision just outside Tokyo Bay, but the US Navy has not yet fully explained how the US$1.5 billion warship was struck by the ACX Crystal.

There will also be a safety investigation, he added.

The U.S. Coast Guard is slated to take the lead on the marine casualty investigation, he said.

The coast guard initially said the collision occurred at 2:20 a.m., as the Philippine ship had reported it at 2:25 a.m. and said it just happened.

"We are struck by deep sorrow", Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrote in a message to President Donald Trump on Sunday.

Other reports by BadHub

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