Monday, June 19, 2017

US Navy Fatalities in NYK Container Ship Collision Identified

Seven Dead and Three Wounded in Saturday's Incident
Shipping News Feature
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. The US Navy has now confirmed that seven of the crewman on the Fitzgerald died in the incident and three injured and the bodies of the deceased crew all recovered.

Although full details are still sparse as to what actually happened, at 0230 local time the ACX Crystal, carrying 1,080 containers from Nagoya to Tokyo, collided with the destroyer about 56 nautical miles south of the Yokosuka naval base. The container ship’s bow and the destroyer's starboard side were damaged. The ACX Crystal was employed by NYK under charter on its 'PX1' routing linking Japan with south-east Asia.

Questions are naturally being asked as to how the $1.8 billion destroyer, one of the most advanced warships in the world, came to such close quarters without being able to take correcting action and a full investigation is ongoing. In a statement the Acting Secretary of the Navy, Sean Stackley, said:

“We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our fellow shipmates as a result of Friday's collision between USS Fitzgerald and a commercial container ship, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families. As details emerge, we can all be proud of the heroic effort by the crew to tend to the needs of those injured and save the ship from further damage while returning safely to port.

“The Navy family comes together during tragic events such as this and I want to thank those who continue to provide around-the-clock assistance to the affected families during these difficult days. I also want to express my most heartfelt appreciation to our Japanese allies for their swift support and assistance at this time of our need.

”In due time, the United States Navy will fully investigate the cause of this tragedy and I ask all of you to keep the Fitzgerald families in your thoughts and prayers as we begin the task of answering the many questions before us.”

The remains of the seven sailors were located in flooded berthing compartments, after divers gained access to the damaged spaces. The deceased are:

- Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia

- Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California

- Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut

- Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas

- Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California

- Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland

- Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

NYK has also offered its condolences and promised full cooperation in the investigation. In a statement the company said:

“Our deep thoughts and concerns go out to the families and friends of those who have so tragically lost their lives on the USS Fitzgerald and our hopes for a speedy recovery for those injured and in hospital following the collision. NYK and the ship owner are fully cooperating with an investigation being conducted by the Japanese Coast Guard. More information will be provided when known.”