Japanese authorities are now investigating how an NYK chartered boxship slammed into the side of a US Navy destroyer over the weekend with the loss of seven American soldiers. The ACX Crystal smashed into the USS Fitzgerald at around 2.20 am on Saturday in Japanese waters.
“The damage was significant. This was not a small collision,” US 7th Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin said at a press conference in Yokosuka yesterday.
Aucoin declined to comment on how the accident happened however Reuters is reporting that Japanese authorities are investigating “endangerment of traffic caused by professional negligence”.
Japanese media also reported that the ACX Crystal made a “sharp turn” just before the crash.
The 20 Filipino crew onboard the ACX Crystal are being interviewed by Japanese investigators.
Aucoin related how the smash saw the destroyer’s hull open up and quickly flood three large compartments that included two berthing areas for 116 crew members. The destroyer’s captain was injured in the collision and airlifted to hospital. Meanwhile, the 300-odd crew remaining on the Fitzgerald managed to contain the flood and navigate the ship back to port using a magnetic compass and backup equipment.
The Philippine-flagged boxship appears to have sustained some damage to its bow but has managed to continue on its voyage, offloading containers in Tokyo yesterday and heading for Yokohama today.
“NYK and the shipowner are fully cooperating with an investigation being conducted by the Japan Coast Guard. More information will be provided when known,” NYK said in its third update on the crash.
— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) June 17, 2017