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USS Fitzgerald sailors killed during collision identified

19 June 2017

Seven Dead and Three Wounded in Saturday's Incident JAPAN - In the early hours of the morning of Saturday, 17 June the US Navy destroyer USS Fitgerald (DDG 62) and the APX Crystal, a 30,000 dwt container ship, were involved in a serious collision at the entrance to Tokyo Bay.

Japan's coastguard is conducting an investigation into the accident - including interviewing the Japanese-owned container ship's Filipino crew - although the USA has primary jurisdiction in probing accidents involving military personnel. Their remains were found in flooded compartments of the damaged ship. Bryce Benson, the commander, inside.

U.S. military personnel work on board the damaged USS Fitzgerald at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo Sunday, June 18, 2017.

According to Navy veterans, the main investigation ordered by Aucoin will compile a minute-by-minute timeline of everything that happened before the collision, probably beginning at the moment the ACX Crystal appeared on the Fitzgerald's radar.

Yukata Saito of the Japanese coast guard said conditions were clear at the time of the collision.

The U.S. Navy has identified the seven sailors killed Saturday in a ship collision, and one of them is a Texas native.

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The admiral expressed his "most heartfelt appreciation to our Japanese allies for their swift support and assistance".

While photos showed serious damage above the waterline, the container ship also did severe damage below it.

It happened more than 50 nautical miles South of Tokyo which was supposed to be the crystal's destination but according to marinetraffic.com, the cargo ship made a U-turn shortly before the crash and was headed in the other direction. Even if the collision is at night, the captain of a Navy vessel is expected to leave standing orders to be woken up whenever another ship comes within a certain distance.

Vice Adm. Aucoin wouldn't speculate on the cause of the collision in an area busy with sea traffic. A member of the containership's crew argued it hit the destroyer while navigating in parallel with it, the report said.

The Fitzgerald limped into port on Saturday evening, listing around five degrees, a US Navy spokesman said. Officers and sailors must at all times keep what the Navy calls good "situational awareness" about not only what their own ship is doing, but about what might be ahead in the next patch of ocean where the Fitzgerald wants to sail. Aucoin said, without elaborating, that Benson "is lucky to be alive".

He added, "Our deepest sympathies are with the families of these sailors". The family moved to Oklahoma a short time later. He said he was doing so out of respect for the families.

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The Fitzgerald is part of the Yokosuka-based naval group that includes the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, but it was operating independently of the carrier when the collision occurred. "Please keep them in your thoughts are prayers".

The Navy on Sunday has released sailors' names.

The investigation, led by a flag officer, will cover both JAGMAN administrative and safety assessments.

Japanese chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government was investigating with the cooperation of the US side and every effort would be made to maintain regional deterrence in the face of North Korea, which has recently conducted a series of missile tests. Footage from Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a sharp horizontal cut across the bow area, which looked like a shark's mouth.

There will definitely be multiple investigations into the cause of the collision.

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USS Fitzgerald sailors killed during collision identified