The Bodies of 7 Sailors Recovered After Vessel Collision
Yesterday afternoon at 1:30 pm ET (Saturday 2:30 am local time), the USS Fitzgerald collided with the ACX Crystal, a Philippine container ship traveling off the coat of Japan. The collision caused damage to the starboard (right) side of the ship below the waterline, which flooded the forward berthing compartments, a machinery room, and a radio room.
Our firm is sad to report that, after being unaccounted for following the collision, the bodies of 7 U.S. sailors have been found in the flooded berthing compartments. Search and rescue teams were able to access the compartments earlier this evening, and the bodies have been taken to Naval Hospital Yokosuka. The U.S. 7th fleet released a statement about the incident, noting that “The families are being notified and being provided the support they need during this difficult time.”
The names of the sailors will be released once the families are notified, according to the statement.
The ACX Crystal, which is owned by Dainichi-Invest Corporation and chartered by NYK, is crewed by 20 Filipino merchant sailors. There were no injuries aboard their vessel. Investigation of the collision is underway, although no causes have been discovered or made public yet. The ACX Crystal is roughly 4 times the size of the USS Fitzgerald.
Other injuries from the collision include at least 2 other crew members from the USS Fitzgerald, one of them being the captain. According to the Associated Press, the Navy vessel was “back at its home port” before it collided with the merchant vessel.
Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the sailors who have died. We hope the investigation yields clear answers soon.