Master of NYK containership blames United States warship for fatal collision


The captain of the ACX Crystal said the container ship flashed lights toward the USS Fitzgerald after it "suddenly" began heading on a collision course near Tokyo Bay on June 17.

The US Navy held a memorial ceremony Tuesday for seven sailors killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off Japan's coast on June 17.

The container ship steered hard to starboard to avoid the warship, but hit the Fitzgerald 10 minutes later at 1:30 am, according to a copy of Captain Ronald Advincula's report.

The sailors were in their berthing compartments and their commander was injured in his cabin, suggesting no alarm was sounded.

Japanese investigators have interviewed the Filipino crew of the 222-meter (730-foot) cargo ship, while USA authorities are also probing the incident.

The Japan Transport Safety Board, the JCG and the Philippines government are also conducting separate investigations.

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Advincula, who is no longer in Japan, could not be reached to comment.

"Every time we go to sea, the ship is our sanctuary and all sailors have to come together as a crew and fight their ship, and that is exactly what Fitzgerald did". Questions remain on Crystal's side too.

The Japan Coast Guard initially said the crash happened at 2:20 am Saturday (1720 GMT Friday) based on when it was reported by the Crystal's crew.

Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that the ACX Crystal, chartered by Japan's Nippon Yusen KK, made a complete U-turn between 12:58 a.m. and 2:46 a.m.

The captain of an NYK boxship has blamed a United States warship for a serious collision off Japan last week. From top left to right, Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Md.; Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, Calif.; Gunner's Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Va.; and Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, Calif.

Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, surveyed the ship's damage and praised its crew for saving it from sinking, it said.