Seven sailors killed in collision between US destroyer, containership

Uss Fitzgerald

(TOKYO) — The U.S. Navy has identified seven sailors who died after the destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a containership early Saturday south of Tokyo Bay, Reuters reported. The seven victims were found dead in flooded berthing compartments.

The collision between USS Fitzgerald and the Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal, chartered by Japan's Nippon Yusen KK, tore a gash under the warship's waterline and flooded two crew compartments, the radio room and the auxiliary machine room. Extensive damage was clearly visible as the destroyer headed back to the Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo, home of the 7th Fleet, on Saturday evening.

The U.S. Navy on Monday identified the dead sailors as Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Va.; Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, Calif.; Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Conn.; Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas; Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, Calif.; Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Md.; and Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio.

Two of three injured crewmembers who were evacuated from the ship by helicopter, including the ship's commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, were released from the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka. The third sailor remained in hospital and no details were given about his condition.

Multiple U.S. and Japanese investigations are under way about how a ship as large as ACX Crystal could collide with the smaller warship in clear weather. Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that the containership made a complete U-turn between 12:58 a.m. and 2:46 a.m. on June 17 (15:58 GMT and 17:46 GMT), but the actual time of the collision is in dispute.

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By Professional Mariner Staff