Japan Coast Guard pushes negligent homicide charges over Fitzgerald collision

The Japan Coast Guard has recommended negligent homicide charges for the USS Fitzgerald’s officer of the deck and the second officer of the boxship ACX Crystal after a deadly collision last year.

The accident happened last June 60 miles southwest of Yokosuka and resulted in the deaths of seven American sailors. The collision was one of a spate of accidents last year involving US Navy vessels in the Pacific.

The Japan Coast Guard charges are specifically for the two men steering both ships at the time of the collision for causing death and injury through negligence in the pursuit of social activities and endangering traffic through negligence in the pursuit of social activities.

The coast guard said the Fitzgerald crew were largely to blame as the boxship was travelling on its starboard side. The ACX Crystal, however, was criticised for failing to take any action to avoid the accident.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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