US Navy USS Fitzgerald guided-missile destroyer after a collision with a merchant ship 17 June 2017, by Peter Burghart (US Navy)

US Navy Destroyer in Pacific Collision

USS Fitzgerald Damaged by Container Ship

In the early morning of 17 June 2017, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with ACX Crystal, a Philippine-flagged container ship, in the North Pacific. The collision occurred about 56 nautical miles (104 kilometres; 64 miles) southwest of her homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, after ACX Crystal had made an unexplained U-turn.

The starboard side of USS Fitzgerald was seriously damaged. The container ship’s bulbous bow penetrated the destroyer’s hull below the waterline, flooding a machinery space, the radio room, and two crew berthing spaces. The captain’s cabin was crushed.

Most of USS Fitzgeralds 200 crew were asleep at the time. Seven crewmen were reported missing after the collision. Several others were injured, including the ship’s commanding officer, Commander Bryce Benson, and two sailors.

Navy Identifies 7 Deceased Fitzgerald Sailors

The US Department of Defense announced June 19, 2017, that the remains of seven sailors previously reported missing were located June 18 in flooded berthing compartments, after divers gained access to the spaces that were damaged when the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald was involved in a collision with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal, according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news release.

The deceased are:

— Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia;

— Petty Officer 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego;

— Petty Officer 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut;

— Petty Officer 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas;

— Petty Officer 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California;

— Petty Officer 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland, and

— Petty Officer 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio.

The incident is currently under investigation.

The US Navy suffered an earlier embarrassment this year when USS Antietam ran aground in Tokyo Bay near Yokosuka, Japan, on 31 January 2017. No personnel were injured.

Leave a Reply