So how is it, with advanced navigational systems, that a 29,000-ton container ship the size of 2½ football fields could collide with a 500-foot U.S. Navy Destroyer in open water?
Investigators from the U.S. Navy and Japan’s coast guard are trying to figure that out. But somehow it happened off the coast of Japan early Saturday, and it cost seven American sailors their lives. Investigators say that, according to Marine Traffic data, the cargo ship, the Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal, made a 180-degree turn shortly before the accident. The two ships reportedly were traveling in the same direction when the collision occurred 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka. The USS Fitzgerald ended up with a massive gash and a crumpled side area, damage that resulted in water flooding an area crew members were sleeping.
Japan’s coast guard is also investigating why it took nearly an hour for the collision to be reported. The collision occurred at roughly 1:30 a.m., but the cargo ship crew reportedly didn’t report it until 2:25 a.m. Mistakes happen. But in a situation like this that ended with the death of seven crew men, it’s inexcusable. Thumbs down.