Collision At Sea – U.S.S. Fitzgerald Collides With Cargo Container Ship ACX Crystal Off Coast of Japan…

This is really odd in the extreme. Multiple human-factors, and technological safeguards, would need to fail simultaneously -on both vessels- in order for this catastrophic impact to have happened at sea.

Seven U.S. Navy crew members are missing and one injured after a U.S. Navy destroyer Fitzgerald collided at approximately 2:00am (local) Saturday morning with the merchant vessel ACX Crystal (Philippine Registry) off the coast of Japan.  All nautical vessels have been requested to respond for maritime search and recovery efforts.

Footage and images from the Japanese TV network NHK showed heavy damage to the mid-right side (starboard) of the USS Fitzgerald and less severe damage to the left side (port) of ACX Crystal. The Crystal is 29,060 tons (w/out cargo) and is 222.6 meters (730 feet) long.

The land-based equivalent of a freight train (Crystal) hitting a school bus (Fitzgerald). By all rough photographic appearances the port-side bow anchor of the Crystal impaled a portion of the Fitzgerald near starboard side amid-ship just below her bridge. Anyone on the deck of the Fitzgerald would have been thrown from her almost immediately.

There are multiple injuries aboard the Fitzgerald. The U.S. 7th Fleet said the number of injuries is still being determined.

The Japan Coast Guard said it received an emergency call from a Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal around 2:20 a.m. (1720 GMT Friday) that it had collided with the USS Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka, Japan.

Coast guard official Takeshi Aikawa said seven crew members are unaccounted for, and one had a head injury. Further details of his or her condition were not known.  Relatives of crew members were awaiting news of their loved ones.

“Of course we’re nervous and scared and just praying,” Rita Schrimsher said by telephone from Athens, Alabama.

Her grandson Jackson Schrimsher is a 23-year-old sailor aboard the USS Fitzgerald. She said she last communicated with him via Facebook messenger on Wednesday.

The Navy’s 7th Fleet said the ship experienced flooding in some areas and is heading back to Yokosuka. The fleet said the Fitzgerald has limited propulsion, and the ship suffered damage on the starboard side below the water line.

Aikawa said the US ship is partially flooded because of damage. So far no damage or injuries have been reported on the container ship, he said. NHK reported that the merchant ship had scratches on the left side of its bow.

The Philippine ship is 29,060 tons and is 222.6 meters (730 feet) long, the coast guard said.

The Navy said that the collision occurred 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, a city south of Tokyo that is home to the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet. A U.S. defense official said there is flooding in three compartments of the Fitzgerald.

The Fitzgerald is forward deployed to Yokosuka as part of the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group. It took part in training near the Korean Peninsula last month involving ships from both the Reagan and USS Carl Vinson strike groups and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The fleet said the USS Dewey, medical assistance and two Navy tugs were being dispatched as quickly as possible and that Naval aircraft were being readied to help. The Japan Coast Guard dispatched five patrol ships and an aircraft carrying medics to the site for search and rescue operations.



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549 Responses to Collision At Sea – U.S.S. Fitzgerald Collides With Cargo Container Ship ACX Crystal Off Coast of Japan…

  1. Was the whole crew asleep? God, this is a display of complete incompetence.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. zephyrbreeze says:

    This has been an amazing discussion on this thread. Thanks to all those who contributed their hard won expertise. We have so much to be grateful for with our wonderful military.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. wheatietoo says:


  4. georgiafl says:

    I’m mystified why on deck gear is not mandatory flotation/GPS belts/vests/packs, etc.

    With today’s technology – it’s inexcusable for our sailors to be lost overboard.

    Look for the Israelis to come up with something like this if they have not already done so.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Terry says:

      On many ships, wearing flotation gear is only required when at battle stations, underway replenishment, rough seas, or high wind conditions.


      • georgiafl says:

        With GPS gear, a drone could be dispatched to retrieve – hover over and mark the sailor for retrieval – like sending a hunting dog to find your game.

        A small light inflatable could be on the same apparatus.

        Even a shark repellent bomb.

        It makes me mad that technology is not being used to protect/find our sailors.


  5. Bill scott says:

    they keep saying Fitz collided with cargo ship, but surely it’s the other way around given damage descriptions?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Nope.

      The Fitzgerald took the impact on her starboard side, the container ship on her port bow.

      That’s almost certainly a violation of Rule 15 (give way to a vessel on your starboard side).

      Liked by 1 person

      • That was exactly my thought. I’m seeing a lot of uninformed reporting about the conduct of ships in international waters. I can see little room for debate. The vessel on the starboard side has the right of way. The indication is that the Fitz did not yield the right of way, or grossly miscalculated the speed of the Crystal. Even without all the anti-collision technology, an able mariner with a watch and a compass can calculate the course and speed of an approaching vessel well enough to avoid collision.

        Liked by 1 person

        • All things being equal, that is. Weird things can happen and quickly. The Fitz may not be at fault.


        • Tom says:

          or the Fitz was overtaking but did not keep clear as it is obliged to do. If the container ship was travelling at ~12 kt, you just know the Fitz’s speed was higher. In my experience, Navy officers are an arrogant lot that have a much higher opinion of their experience than is warranted, the same reason they are required to take a pilot when entering port. They are generally terrible ship handlers and often leave a trail of destruction in their wake…literally..


      • scott467 says:

        From the point of view of someone who is not educated in sea travel (and associated terminology), when one ship (Fitzgerald) is impaled on its side by another ship’s (ACX Crystal) front (bow), that would seem to be the Crystal hitting the Fitzgerald.

        Unless the Fitzgerald was traveling sideways…



      • Port vs Starbord is not an issue. Thism navy destroyer is equipped with the most sensitive detections systems in the world. The Ageis radar system is known as the best ever developed. And the Fitzgerald also has the best sonar system known to man. The “target” was a slow moving 30,000 ton cargo ship. For five years i tracket shipping from my station in my ships CIC and i know this situation is akin to running into Mount Fuji.

        Liked by 1 person

        • GinaP says:

          But port vs starboard *is* an issue. It’s a rule of the road just like coming to a full stop at a stop sign would be. It’s like saying despite having GPS and airbags and every other top of the line gadget in his car, when you ran the stop sign it was the other guy’s fault he hit you. Yep, you should have enough equipment, and common sense in either vehicle to stop the collision, but the rules of the road (or in this case, the sea) will decide who’s at fault.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Therefore, the answer to Bill Scott’s question above is: Yep. Cargo ship did hit the destroyer, as you said, Ken.


  6. Damage assessment:

    The ship’s hull girder may be compromised; that would require a LOT of work to fix if that’s the case.

    Fixing the SPY-1 array will be non-trivial as well (they have to be very precisely aligned, and the forward deckhouse is pretty badly bent).


    • Michael says:

      The hull of the Crystal extends underwater well forward of the bow above the water so likely the below waterline damage to the Fitzgerald is much worse than what can be seen.


  7. dreadnok89 says:

    If it was a philipines ship it coulda been isis.

    The military has grown soft and inept. The iranians capturing our lost sailors to planes crashing all the time. Obumble neutered our military with terrible leaders.


    • G. Combs says:

      If you want to see how badly the military has been neutered by Obummer, read this 133 page FOIA document obtained from the Department of Defense entitled: AFSS 0910 EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND TREATMENT INCIDENTS (EOTI) LESSON PLAN from
      Judicial Watch…. IF you can stomach it.

      This lesson will focus on awareness and <b.current issues requiring the attention of future Equal Opportunity Advisors. It will also provide information that describes sources of extremism information, definitions, recruitment of DoD personnel, common themes in extremist ideologies, common characteristics of extremist organizations, DoD policies, and command functions regarding extremist activities.[…]

      The following references are additional sources for current extremism information:
      • Anti-Defamation League [The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people ]

      • Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism – [The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino]

      • Know Gangs

      • Political Research Associates

      • Southern Poverty Law Center [SEE attacks on Catholic Church and shooting target from their list also DHS employee behind website promoting race war on paid leave ]

      • Teaching Tolerance Todd’s American Dispatch: Feds forced churches to get baptism permits […]

      D. Extremist Ideologies
      1. Introduction
      • As noted, an ideology is a set of political beliefs about the nature of people and society. People who are committed to an ideology seek not only to persuade but to recruit others to their belief. In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.

      • While not all ideologists are violent in nature, it is characteristic of ideology to be action-oriented and to regard action in terms of a military analogy. How often have you heard words such as struggle, resist, march, victory, and overcome when reading about or talking to ideologists about their beliefs?

      2. Ideologies
      a. Nationalism – The policy of asserting that the interests of one’s own nation are separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations. Many nationalist groups take it a step further and believe that their national culture and interests are superior to any other national group.

      b. Supremacy – The belief that one’s race or ethnicity is superior to all others and should dominate society. Supremacy, as with racial supremacies in general, has frequently resulted in anti-Black and anti-Semitic violence.

      c. Separatism – Setting oneself or others apart based on culture, ethnicity, race, or religion.

      d. Anarchism – A political ideology that considers the state to be unnecessary, harmful, or undesirable. National anarchists appeal to youths in part by avoiding the trappings of skinhead culture—light jackets, shaved heads, and combat boots—in favor of hooded sweatshirts and bandanas. They act the part of stereotypical anarchists as envisioned by most Americans outside of far-left circles: black-clad protesters wreaking havoc at political conventions and anti-globalization rallies.

      e. Religion – Extremist ideology based on intolerance toward other religions. Anti- Semitism is a prime example of this ideology. […]

      Why in Hades does our military need to be taught crappola like this???

      It sure looks a lot like they are targeting Christian patriotic Americans as EXTREMISTS doesn’t it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dan says:

    The investigation will be interesting. Hit on the starboard side. Hope this isn’t another USS Porter type incident.


  9. GSR says:

    Very odd. We need more details.


  10. David says:

    The should never have happened is beyond an understatement. It’s a humiliating assessment of our Navy readiness. Who needs high-tech naval ships to take out an american war ship, just sail in a few cargo ships and ram them. Stunning. Careers will end over this one. The ball was dropped on so many levels personnel wise, however, it seems that the equipment itself must have been defective not to have been sounding off warning sirens. Its really outrageous.


  11. Left_at_Dunkirk says:

    Navy Captain gets his smaller ship rammed by a much larger ship? I see a future Democrat President in the making. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  12. RedBallExpress says:

    It’s hard to say what the Fitzgerald was up to. But any U.S, warship has the manpower, equipment, ability and RESPONSIBILITY to avoid any and all collisions. The Captain is completely responsible for the safety of his crew and ship at all times. This is by far his most important assignment. Many Captains burned out during WWII from the stress and they were evaluated continuously. Some were reassigned after a rest period but many could never go back. Some were not replaced soon enough and their ships were lost. They are not hauling freight around like we drive a car. They are a lethal weapon requiring the highest level of Naval Professionalism. It is what they do. This is about as bad as it gets for a Naval Captain. Even running a ship aground in a treacherous harbor will almost certainly result in the Captain being relieved of duty. At this point we don’t know enough details. Bad things can happen to good Captains.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Navy destroyer in Sea of Japan: A sideways collision or more fake news? |

  14. Robert S Patterson says:

    Since the jury is out until we hear from the crew of the Crystal most of this is speculation, however it still takes two ships to have a collison. l wonder about that u-turn the Crystal made prior to the collision,also it was mid watch on both ships, the Fitzgerald loaded with tech gear much specifically to monitor outside surface vessels one does wonder what was the environment on the bridge that early morning and what about back-up in CIC who are also glued to their radars and could have warned the bridge if they detected danger. l feel so bad for the families of the crew and my prayers are with them and with the Fitzgerald as they go thru these trying times.


  15. Isog Sargent says:

    Thanks Obama!


  16. platypus says:

    I read every comment here and only a few described the possibility of being dead in the water with no power. I was expecting to read something about the Fitz being rendered “dead” by a new jamming weapon like the one that did in one of our ships in the Black Sea. I don’t remember the name of the ship but it was reported that it was “killed” with a microwave weapon and had no power, communications, or radar. At the time it sounded so far-fetched I just assumed it was an internet rumor. Yet this one sounds very similar – a collision with no evidence of victim ship movement during the impact.


  17. Maury Antone says:

    Both ships CANC was compromised (hacked if you will), and steered to accomplish task (crash).. technology only as good as your ability to keep it from being compromised!


    • Rex says:

      For the enlightenment of us landlubbers, what the heck is a, “CANC” ?
      (Yes, I have read most but not all of the comments)

      As for the “hacked” suggestion, do you have a report you can share or is this a hunch on your part?


  18. Kent says:

    Prayers for the Officers, Crew and Families of the Fitz…..know that whatever happens or comes out of this…it’ll be ok…you will all be ok…you will survive.

    Navy Vet…78-82

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The Judge says:

    Even as an amateur blue water yachtsman, I know that, under NORMAL circumstances, it was the duty of the FITZ to yield the ROW to the containershiip. Likewise, it was the duty of the Crystal to hold its course and speed, provided same could be done without collision. It near impossible to believe that our collision avoidance redundancy and basic seamanship all just failed. Ergo, the best explanation is that our Fitz was HIGHJACKED.


  20. Victor Bejarano Jr. LCPO USS FOX (CG-33) says:

    I was part of ATG (Afloat Training Group) tge Officer of the Deck is in charge, 200 hrs CO reports should have had an entry by the captain (waje me if any contact closed under 5k yards) fireward lookout, should have reported merchant vessel, CIC surtace tracker assigns seq. number and tracks till clear (openning) in range. When contact is CBDR, all attention is put on that vessel till clear (constant bearing, decreasing range) OOD should have taken the conn, ordered up flank speed (all engines on-line), full / hard rudder to get clear, BMOW stand-by collission alarm; “battle stations” if necessary to get out of any trouble. Yes, i”ll pray; Lord have mercy, accountability – no excuse.


    • Thomas says:

      Looking at the ACX Crystals track history at the time of collision, I’d say any accountability on their part certainly cannot be ruled out, on the contrary; It’s hard to know exactly where the collision occured, but they sure have made a lot of strange an unpredictable turns in the moments around the time of the crash. If the times given in the media are accurate to the minute, it does looks like the Crystal made a starboard turn right before the crash, which very well could have caused a collision course after the Fitz had passed clear ahead of the Crystal. But it sure must have been tight, and also still very strange the Fitz didn’t manage to get out of the way, anyway.


  21. Maureen O'Rourke says:

    ….. ” Marine traffic records show the Crystal made a series of sharp turns about 25 minutes before the collision, which in crowded seas could cause a cascade of maneuvers by other vessels…..”.

    “Those are very high-traffic-density areas near coastal waters,” said Bill Doherty, a ship safety investigator and auditor with a long career of service on naval warships. “When a big ship like that makes a drastic change in a high traffic area, that has to be explained.”


  22. Herb McQuarrie LCDR USCG RET says:

    We need more accurate plan of the tracks of the vessels. The Crystals erratic course changes seem to make no sense unless they were intentional.Best plan I have seen so far shows Fitzgerald on a northwesterly heading contrary to its intended track to the southwest, and many loops and changes by the Crystal – please more details.


  23. Oliver Grant says:

    Simple deception. Destroyer does not notice hostile u-turn. Assumes cargo ship will pass safely but instead makes sudden turn to ram at last 60 seconds. People in CIC suspect nothing until last minute. Cargo skipper had better have a good cover story for erratic naviation.


  24. Michael says:

    I think there’s something very fishy going on on the cargo ship. I think they deliberately slammed into the Destroyer. The Destroyer was obviously not paying attention to the Mammoth Mountain coming towards it with all its radar and abilities to evade missiles submarines and everything else that’s thrown at it it was not able to evade A Mammoth Mountain of a ship something very wrong going on out there.


  25. I was frustrated that news of the Fitzgerald investigation seemed to be slow so I went looking and found this. Even though I’m ex-Navy, this article pacified me into being more patient.


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