US Destroyer Nearly Sunk After Deadly Collision; Bodies Of Seven US Sailors Found

Tyler Durden's picture

The bodies of seven U.S. sailors missing after the USS Fitzgerald collided with the Philippines-registered ACX Crystal early Saturday were found in flooded compartments of US destroyer, which came close to sinking after the collision tore a gash under the warship's waterline, the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet commander said on Sunday.

Full navy statement below:

A number of Sailors' remains that were missing from the collision between USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and a merchant ship have been found. As search and rescue crews gained access to the spaces that were damaged during the collision this morning, the missing Sailors were located in the flooded berthing compartments. They are currently being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified.


The families are being notified and being provided the support they need during this difficult time. The names of the Sailors will be released after all notifications are made.

The navy added that the sailors names will be released after all notifications.

Speaking at a news conference, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin said the impact crushed berthing cabins below the waterline and ripped open a large hole in the vessel. Bodies of the missing sailors were found in the berthing cabins. Aucoin declined to say how many of the seven missing sailors had been recovered, but Japanese media said all had died.

“Out of concern for the families and the notification process, I will decline to state how many we have found at this time,” Aucoin told a news conference and added that the USS Fitzgerald could have foundered, or even sunk, if not for the crew's efforts to save the ship, he said (the full transcript of his speech can be found here).

"The damage was significant. There was a big gash under the water," Aucoin said at Yokosuka naval base, home of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, the docked Fitzgerald behind him. "A significant portion of the crew was sleeping" when the destroyer collided with the Philippine-flagged container ship, destroying the commander's cabin, he said.

The Fitzgerald is salvageable, he said, but repairs will likely take months. "Hopefully less than a year. You will see the USS Fitzgerald back," Aucoin said.

Multiple U.S. and Japanese investigations are under way on how a ship as large as the container could ram into the warship in clear weather.

Aucoin was asked if damage on the starboard side indicated the U.S. ship could have been at fault, but the Vice Admiral declined to speculate on the cause of the collision. According to maritime rules vessels are supposed to give way to ships on their starboard.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters Japanese media reported that local authorities were looking into the possibility of "endangerment of traffic caused by professional negligence", but it was not clear whether that might apply to either or both of the vessels. The U.S. Navy said the collision happened at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT Friday), while the Japanese Coast Guard said it was 1:30 a.m. local time.

Japan's Nippon Yusen KK, which charters the container ship, ACX Crystal, said in a statement on Saturday it would "cooperate fully" with the Coast Guard's investigation of the incident. At around 29,000 tons displacement, the ship dwarfed the 8,315-ton U.S. warship. It was carrying 1,080 containers from the port of Nagoya to Tokyo. None of the 20 crew members aboard the container ship, all Filipino, were injured, and the ship was not leaking oil, Nippon Yusen said. The ship arrived at Tokyo Bay later on Saturday.

The waterways approaching Tokyo Bay are busy with commercial vessels sailing to and from Japan’s two biggest container ports in Tokyo and Yokohama. But such collisions at sea are rare in an age of advanced navigational technology.


Naval historians recall possibly the last time a warship was hit by a larger vessel in peacetime was in 1964 off the coast of Australia’s New South Wales. The HMAS Melbourne, an aircraft carrier, collided with the destroyer HMAS Voyager, shearing the much smaller vessel in half and killing 82 of the Voyager's crew.


Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a message to U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday saying he was “in deep sorrow” over the Fitzgerald incident. He added that he “highly respects people involved in the U.S. military who every day make a big contribution for protecting peace for our nation and the region under the strong U.S.-Japan alliance.”

A spokesman for the Japanese coast guard said its investigation was continuing, and Filipino crew members of the ACX Crystal had been questioned. He declined to discuss further details of the probe.

The WSJ notes that collisions at sea for the U.S. Navy are extremely uncommon, said Bryan McGrath, a former destroyer captain, who said they occur only once or twice a decade, if that. He said he couldn’t remember a recent collision that was this consequential.

“There are 275 ships in the Navy and 100 are under way all over the world,” navigating “millions and millions of miles” every year, said Mr. McGrath, who retired in 2008 and is now a consultant. “This is very, very rare.”


U.S. naval history includes a number of notable mishaps. In 2005, the USS San Francisco, a Los Angeles-class submarine, hit a seamount or underwater mountain, injuring dozens of crew. In 2001, the USS Greeneville, another Los Angeles-class sub, performed an emergency ballast blow for special visitors aboard the vessel, surfacing quickly and hitting a Japanese fishing ship on the surface near Hawaii, killing nine crew members of the Japanese vessel.


In one of the Navy’s worst incidents, the aircraft carrier Wasp in April 1952 collided with the destroyer Hobson in the North Atlantic, killing 176 men.


Mr. McGrath declined to speculate as to what occurred or who or what might be to blame in the Fitzgerald incident. The collision occurred in darkness in a high-traffic area of the Pacific, he said. The most concerning aspect of the collision, from the destroyer’s point of view, is the damage to the Fitzgerald’s starboard side below the waterline, resulting from the container ship’s construction and the way its bow hit, he said.

As reported yesterday, the Fitzgerald collided with the merchant vessel more than three times its size some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka early on Saturday. Three people were evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka after the collision, including the ship's commanding officer, Bryce Benson, who was reported to be in stable condition. According to Reuters, Benson took command of the Fitzgerald on May 13. He had previously commanded a minesweeper based in Sasebo in western Japan.

The Fitzgerald limped into port on Saturday evening, listing around 5 degrees, a U.S. Navy spokesman in Yokosuka said. The flooding was in two berthing compartments, the radio room and auxiliary machine room, he said. There were 285 crew onboard.

Among the many lingering questions that should be asked is why was the radar and communication system on the Fitzgerald turned off? Also, why was US navy fleet and related satellite coverage from Hawaii and Guam MIA, and with the ships on collision course, why nobody was alerted especially since 2AM in Japan means it was working hours in the USA. A separate question: what and who was on that Philippine flag containership heading into Tokyo?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
whitedragon's picture


The only good soldiers/sailors are dead soldiers/sailors. Without soldiers, there is no war.

TungstenBars's picture

Soldiers are nothing but gatekeepers for the biggest, most murderous, greedy and overall evil mafia in the world.

whitedragon's picture

 They happily get paid with looted money, gain no useful skills during their most productive years, then come home either handicapped or unemployed and want support. Then they retire and keep happily taking looted money.

nmewn's picture

So when you say...

"The only good soldiers/sailors are dead soldiers/sailors. Without soldiers, there is no war."

...that is applied to all soldiers/sailors or just US soldiers/sailors?

Xena fobe's picture

Whitenhorse thinks we would all live in peace and harmony forever after if we simply outlaw the military.  

Manthong's picture


Speaking of destroyed ,,

Captain,,, XO… likely most of the bridge….. careers  too  

Ray1968's picture

At one point in time (a long time ago), the Zerohedge comment section was a place for intellectual discussion. Now we've got fuckface trolls everywhere celebrating dead US sailors.

Permit me to give a hi-ho-fuck-you to all you trolls out there that have destroyed our space. I also blame Drudge for linking to so many ZH articles that have drawn the rabble to this site.

Manthong's picture


Oh… crap   this is by far the best discussion of educated people out there.

Oh..and  to MWEN…..

Since I was a mil flyer / electronics / operator  back in the day……..

All I can say is I associate with the weeping  23 yr old widow with a fatherless baby of the poor kid who happened be in the radar van when Ivanka’s dad decided to waste a couple hundred million bucks on a badly mis-informed missile attack.


Got The Wrong No's picture

I normally agree with most that you have to say and yes the missile attack was mis-informed but what Mother would allow there kid in a radar van in a war zone?

Manthong's picture



Maybe you  have conflated widow with mother.

No good mom wants her kid a war zone….

But it would be revealing to ask any member of Russian family what they think about that.

Manthong's picture


Oh.. and hi again to my personal troll..

You light up my life … and validate my wisdom with each of your solitary down votes.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin

Really?  All these stories on cryptocurrencies, and now we have "Admiral Gold Coin"?

847328_3527's picture

The media is careful not to mention much about the captain. That's odd. Usually they rip apart people like this.

flapdoodle's picture

A major accident on a Navy ship is fatal to a career. This captain's next post is likely a Navy recuiting office in Kansas...

Uncertain T's picture

There is some talk that this was no "accident" ... The ship was rammed by a vessel with no running lights or transponder.... Further, I think the Navy was running the AEGIS system... which has failed before. 

jaxville's picture

I think it will just be a matter of incompetence.  Something that is becoming ubiquitous in the military as ability is overlooked in favor of political correctness and/or other considerations.

Manthong's picture


You are promoting him already

The word is ….  Cashiered.

land_of_the_few's picture

Nobody puts baby in a corner ;)

HowdyDoody's picture

The US military is the greatest death and destruction machine the world has known. It makes the Nazi look like amateurs. The Nazi grunts were conscripted and largely forced (e.g. under penalty of being sent to the eastern front) to carry out their orders. The US grunts do it voluntarily.

Kalashnikov545's picture

Germany's Vermacht was some of the finest, well trained,  disciplined soldiers that have ever made war on this earth.  They fought on multiple fronts, against overwhelmingly larger and better equipped nations, on many occasions to the last man.  I don't agree with the ideology of their leaders, but the common soldiers valor was admirable. Please don't compare America's military, to theirs.

Got The Wrong No's picture

They were high on Meth and they had the good shit.

Offthebeach's picture

At the beginning of WWII ( for the US ) the US Army was 8th in the world in size.  4 years later they had crossed two oceans and in the case of Nazis, consistently rolled them over in Africa, invasions in Itally, swept them off the sky's and crushed them from the Channel to the months.  This was done at lower costs, the hole war, then one of many, now near forgotten, battles.  Paulus gave up more Germans than the US lost in the entire war.  In short the Nazis and their officer corps were delusional and incompetent, and ....losers.

N2OJoe's picture

Around 80% of German soldiers killed in WWII lost their lives on the Eastern Front.  It's cute that you believe the propaganda that we(US) were the major player in defeating the Nazis.

Offthebeach's picture

Why do you need to kill soldiers to win?  Does the word maneuver mean anything to you?  

It is cute your primitive non comprehension of modern warfare.   US/Allied mobility, and ability, was such that  i95% of Nazi soldiers facing the US had to be distributed from Norway to Italy.   Unlike the Soviets ( not truely, but beyond you ) we could land and attack anywhere, at our choosing and ignore, and not fight or kill, Germans.  In a phrase, hit'm where they aint.  Matter of fact D-Day, our choice, our time, our place, occured in Normandy....and southern France.  Two invasions..

You are atomic particle thin in your knowledge, but delusions,  miles thick.


(pro tip, ignore popular battles and generals and read up on logistics.  Army At Dawn is a good, light first start.  )


Kidbuck's picture

Without the US military we would all get the life that you crave, getting ass raped by diaper heads every day.

veritas semper vinces's picture


"All I can say is I associate with the weeping  23 yr old widow with a fatherless baby of the poor kid who happened be in the radar van when Ivanka’s dad decided to waste a couple hundred million bucks on a badly mis-informed missile attack."


Well said(the poor soldier was protecting his country,Syria from our "brave fucking heroes")  Many people here have a tendancy to ignore the root of the problem=the fact the the Evil Empire has 900+ military bases all over the world and is flexing its f...cking muscles everywhere ,trying to impose its will by force.

Yes,it applies only to soldiers that are where they should not be. The fact that  this mostly apply to Americunts is inconvinient for many,but does not change the sad truth.

Sanity Bear's picture

The ramming of the USS Fitzgerald appears to have been deliberate.

It is very possible that this incident is another Ramadan celebration.

Just a heads up folks. Ramming trucks into crowds just became ramming cargo ships into destroyers.

peddling-fiction's picture

Absolutely think it was deliberate. Payback for rammed Russian spyship? By a Togo flagged vessel. CIA always uses tongue in cheek names to leave a calling card. That means the ramming ship was ordered To-Go (Togo).

Both ships have radar by the way.

DocBerg's picture

This was an Aegis destroyer, with one of the best radar systems ever developed.  So, even if the freighter's transponder was shut off, why didn't the crew see this ship coming?  Incoming missiles, and suicide boats don't tend to have transponders, either, and this radar is supposed to track such threats and even multiple threats.  Something stinks here.

any_mouse's picture

The USN has had radar that could see ghost gunboats since 1964, but cannot see a 29,000 ton container ship in 2017?

USN has gunboats that do not know they are in Iranian waters.

Wasted that money on the Zumwalt, could have just leased container ships for stealth.

What would that mean for BDI?

Destroyers often referred to as "tin cans". Speed and maneuverability are optimized. Survivability is not.

Ironic that the Commander's quarters were destroyed along with his career.

Mayne there were Russians onboard the cargo ship.

Along with their fleet of Toyota pickups, ISIS has container ships?

poeg's picture

This, cubed. The turning radius of the freighter would be astronomical. What's being pitched here is that a Mississippi Riverboat intentionally snuck up on and rammed a Seadoo piloted by Daredevil.

PacOps's picture

Yeah really stinks. - CIC had to be plotting and tracking and informing the Bridge in real time.

It's what they do 24/7 when underway!

I haven't been in Japanese waters but have done the Strait of Gibraltar, Sunda and Malacca multiple times - it ain't rocket science even when it gets crowded!

The Chief's picture

Give my regards to Captain Dunsel...

The Chief's picture

Who is the OOD? Is it a SHE?

DeadFred's picture

Everyone knows that soldiers and sailors don't kill people, it's guns that kill people.

Got The Wrong No's picture

It's the Bankers and Zionist controlled World leaders who give the orders that kill people. All Wars are Bankers Wars. 

veritas semper vinces's picture

True ,but if they did not have willing sycophants in the army,media,all entertainment industry,general population,etc.,they would not be able to do much.

PacOps's picture

Once a while back (15 or so years ago?) an arab prince ... no longer remember which country or tribe ... came up with his solution  for the military and wars with somehing like this.

Warriors had to be at least 45 years of age to volunteer and then have their mothers permission before going to war.

I like his solution.

DJZZ's picture

It's people like you who made my service so memorable 46 years ago, especially in the airports.  Thanks for your support.  Sarcasm

Far better men and women than you sacrifice and died for to spout your garbage.

We always loose the brightest and the best.


Pendolino's picture

Who exactly were you fighting that were going to stop the free speech of people in the USA? I'm guessing not Canadians....

DJZZ's picture

Marxist.  Now there entrenched.  My guess you're one of the.  MSM, Democratic Party, Bernie and his supporters, Hillary, Pelosi, Tom Prez, Ellison, Warren the fake Indian,  antifa, Black lives matter and the list just goes on.  Trying to save your dumbass from a Marxists Hell.

HowdyDoody's picture

"that is applied to all soldiers/sailors or just US soldiers/sailors?"

The US military created and enables ISIS, others are destroying ISIS. There are supposedly US Special Forces who know what they are doing is evil, but they still do it. Why? Because paycheck? Because lucrative contracts as PMCs when they leave the 'service'?

veritas semper vinces's picture

Those soldiers/sailors/american warships have absolutely no business being there and in the 900+ military bases all over the world.

HRClinton's picture

I think it applies to all soldiers who spread an Empire, rather than just defend their country.

You got a problem with that? 

oncemore's picture

Let me answer your question!
Every combatant outs8de his home country is a legitim target and has to d8e, has to be killed.

LetThemEatRand's picture

You're not helping the cause of wanting to rein in the MIC by showing a complete lack of compassion for the loss of life.  Have a little humanity and save the grand standing for a story about trillions missing or moar troops being sent to guard poppy fields or something.  

nmewn's picture

I really REALLY wanted that leftist prick to answer my question.

So..."whitedragon"...does your wrath go out to Russian, Chinese, Nork soldiers/sailors too or not? 

Inquiring minds an all ;-)

LetThemEatRand's picture

He's been here for 13 weeks.  Probably paid to post shit like this to poison the mind of any casual readers who land her to read the story.   

whitedragon's picture

You have one chance to change people's minds, and you resort to a logical fallacy of ad hominem attack?

That is prima faciae evidence that you have no counterargument. Please don't waste people's time.