USS FITZGERALD collision with boxship ACX CRYSTAL, Japan UPDATE
Update: USS FITZGERALD hull was breached above and below waterline, with water ingress in some compartments. The ship is under own power, though her propulsion is limited. Crew are pumping out water.
Container ship ACX CRYSTAL though Philippines-flagged, said to be operated by Japanese NYK. Her damages though substantial, aren’t too serious, let alone critical.
Container ship ACX CRYSTAL collided with destroyer USS FITZGERALD at around 0230 Tokyo time June 17 in vicinity 34 32N 139 05E, 10 nm southeast of Shimoda, Izu peninsula, Honshu island, Japan. Container ship was en route from Nagoya to Tokyo, while USS FITZGERALD understood to be sailing either to, or from, Yokosuka Naval Base. Container ship bow struck destroyer starboard in bridge area, destroying part of superstructure. Container ship suffered bow damages, reportedly bow stern was breached, but vessel remained seaworthy and resumed sailing towards Tokyo, at 1300 Tokyo time she was entering Tokyo Bay at some 12 knots speed.
Seven USS FITZGERALD crew reported missing, several were injured, at least three medevaced by helicopter.
As in most collision accidents, most probably in this accident too, both ships are responsible for the collision, to a more or less degree. Navies in most cases, are more to blame, if you ask me. Navy ships have a specially assigned sailor for each and every task, from watching to plotting maneuvers. Navy ships are always ready to reverse engines or change course. Merchant ships are resembling big passenger jets – take-off, straight flight, landing, with as few maneuvers as possible. Their manning is based mainly on monetary considerations, crews are severely limited. The bigger is the merchant ship, the more difficult and unpredictable is her maneuvering. Merchant marine needs as obstacles-free (including such obstacles, as Navies or fishing vessels, especially coastal boats) and wide lanes, as possible.
Photos Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News, via Associated Press.
Pic of AIS track of ACX CRYSTAL.
USS FITZGERALD (DDG-62), Arleigh Burke-class destroyer of the US Navy, displacement 9000 tons, commissioned 1995, complement: 33 commissioned officers 38 chief petty officers 210 enlisted personnel.