USS Fitzgerald Saved By Crew’s ‘Heroic Efforts,’ 7th Fleet Commander Says

Almost an hour elapsed before a Philippine-flagged container ship reported a collision with a USA warship, the Japanese coastguard said on Monday, as investigations began into the accident in which seven US sailors were killed.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.This updated photo released by the U.S. Navy, Monday, June 19, 2017, shows Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California.The other five were identified as Dakota Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Virginia; Ngoc Truong Huynh, 25, of Oakville, Connecticut; Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, Texas; Alec Martin, 24, of Halethorpe, Maryland; and Gary Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio.”Our probe is still under way, and we are discussing” with the USA authorities over interviews with American sailors, a Japan Coast Guard official said Tuesday.The remains of the seven sailors were located in flooded berthing compartments, after divers gained access to the damaged spaces.The Japan coast guard received an emergency call from a Philippine registered container ship “ACX Crystal” around 2:20 a.m. that it had collided with the Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka.They were also investigating why the cargo ship took almost an hour before reporting the collision.Three other sailors were evacuated for their injuries.The bodies of the USA sailors were found in flooded sleeping berths a day after the accident which tore a huge gash in the side of the warship.”Fitzgerald 7 are headed home; just left Japan. crew, family on hand to say goodbye”, it said on Twitter.He said the work by the sailors prevented a far worse situation.In a statement, acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley said, “We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our fellow shipmates. They are safe. The ship itself was slightly damaged from the incident”, the DFA said. One was Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, who was trapped inside his cabin following the collision and was later transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka.”This was not a small collision”, USA 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin said, the New York Post reported.The collision caused catastrophic damage to the USS Fitzgerald’s starboard, or right, side.”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 at a press conference.Aucoin would not speculate on how the accident occurred, but said there would be multiple investigations into the collision, including one by the Navy’s Judge Advocate General and one by the US Coast Guard.”The crew had to fight very hard to keep the ship afloat”, he said.He thanked “our Japanese allies” for their swift assistance, and said the Navy will fully investigate the cause.