Elyria Ohio Man One Of Seven Sailors Lost In Ship Collision

Claudine Rigal
Juin 21, 2017

The response of the crew of the severely damaged USS Fitzgerald was swift and effective, and I want to point out - as we stand by the ship - how proud I am of them, Navy Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, commander of the USA 7th Fleet, said today at a press conference in front of the stricken ship thats now moored in Yokosuka, Japan.

The ACX Crystal collided with the USS Fitzgerald off Japan's coast early Saturday morning, killing seven of the destroyer's crew of almost 300. The 30,000-ton container ship was en route to Tokyo from Nagoya and had already been at sea for seven hours when the collision occurred. The area sees heavy maritime traffic, with 400 to 500 vessels crossing it daily. But an investigation of the Japanese Coast Guard has revealed that it took nearly an hour before the ship-to-ship collision was reported to them, a critical amount of time that may factor into the course of event that led to American sailors dying on their ship.

The Coast Guard originally said the collision occurred at 2:20 a.m. because when the container ship reported the incident it at 2:25 a.m., it said the collision had just happened.

The coast guard questioned crew members of the ACX Crystal, and is treating the collision as a case of possible professional negligence, said Masayuki Obara, a regional coast guard official.

He said officials are planning to get hold of a device with communication records to examine further details of the crash.

"He always put others before his own safety", she said.

A 25-year-old sailor from The Colony is among the survivors of the collision of the USS Fitzgerald.

On Monday, the Navy's 7th Fleet identified the seven sailors who died. The bodies of the dead sailors were discovered in flooded compartments below deck.

Martin's remains will arrive at the Dover Airforce Base in DE on Tuesday. The U.S. Coast Guard will perform another so-called "marine casualty investigation" into the conduct of the Crystal and her crew.

"It's an intimate meeting, very solemn grieving with families, so we're not even taking photos", Commander Ron Flanders, press officer at the US Naval Forces in Japan, told AFP.

A large dent was clearly visible in its right mid-section as the destroyer limped back to Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo, home of the Seventh fleet, on Saturday evening.

The much larger container ship, the ACX Crystal, suffered less damage than the USS Fitzgerald.

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan felt that serving in the Navy was "his calling" and he joined in 2013 after graduating from high school, a friend said.

"He responded nearly three hours after I messaged him and he just said 'I'm ok, '" said Luna.

Seven men died in the incident, the Navy confirmed.

Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the Navy's 7th Fleet, at a news conference.

The ship was struck on the starboard side and the impact created a hole below the waterline.

The water flow into compartments that were berthing areas for 116 of the ship's crew was "tremendous", he said, adding that "there wasn't a lot of time in those spaces that were open to the sea". "They are known as the 'Fighting Fitz, ' and the crew lived up to that name".

Aucoin said he's initiating a Judge Advocate General Manual investigation into the collision, and that he'll appoint a flag officer to lead that investigation.

However, NHK reported that the merchant ship had some scratches on the left side of its bow. Given that this was where the damage to the destroyer was inflicted, questions will be raised over whether the US ship could have been at fault.

It is unclear whether there were any warning signs leading up to the collision, and authorities have not speculated on the cause of the crash.

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