Seven Sailors Missing, 3 Injured After US Navy USS Fitzgerald Guided Missile Destroyer Crashes with ACX Crystal Merchant Ship

Damaged USS Fitzgerald Yokosuka June 17, 2017 PHOTO CREDIT: PETER BURGHART/U.S. NAVY

The USS Fitzgerald left the US naval base in Yokosuka, where it is based, earlier Friday for routine operations in the area before it crashed with the ACX Crystal Merchant ship south west of Japan.

Seven US sailors are missing and the commanding officer of a US destroyer is among three injured naval personnel after the USS Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal merchant ship collided southwest of the coast of Japan.

The USS Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal collided around 1:30 a.m. local time Saturday June 17, 2017 in the Pacific Ocean, about 56 nautical miles southwest from the port of Yokosuka and 12 miles off the Izu Peninsula, the Japanese coast guard said.

“The collision affected Fitzgerald’s forward starboard side above and below the water line, causing significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room.”

— US 7th Fleet

Compared to the merchant ship, the smaller guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald suffered severe damage to its starboard side.

Cmdr. Bryce Benson, the USS Fitzgerald’s commander, was evacuated by a Japanese naval helicopter, and two injured US sailors were evacuated by US military helicopters. All three US Navy personnel are in stable condition at the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, according to Cmdr. Ron Flanders, public affairs officer for US Naval Forces Japan.

No injuries were reported on the ACX Crystal.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 17, 2016) Statement from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin regarding the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald’s (DDG 62) return to Fleet Activities Yokosuka after a collision at sea. (U.S. Navy video/Released).

Five Japanese Maritime Self Defense force ships were leading the search for the missing US sailors at the site of the collision, joined by the US guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey, according to the 7th Fleet. US and Japanese aircraft also were also conducting search and rescue operations.

The most recent port call positions for the ACX Crystal reported on were over one year ago …

Mar 06, 2016, 22:04 UTC COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
Feb 07, 2016, 17:04 UTC COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
Jan 18, 2016, 08:36 UTC DRAMMEN, NORWAY

According to the ACX CRYSTAL is a container ship built in 2008 and currently sailing under the flag of Philippines. ACX CRYSTAL has 213m (699ft) length overall and beam of 30m (98ft). Her gross tonnage is 29093 tons.

The USS Fitzgerald is 154m (505ft) length and beam of 20m (66ft). The USS Fitzgerald has a full displacement of approximately 9,000 tons.

Sixteen days before the crash, the USS Fitzgerald, had been observed participating in routine exercises with Japan that were described in the media as a show of force to North Korea. Fifteen days before the crash, the US Navy published a video showing The Carl Vinson strike group, , including USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), operates with the Ronald Reagan strike group including, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), and USS Mustin (DDG 89) and the Japanese Ships (JS) Hyuga (DDH 181) and JS Ashigara (DDG 178). Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and U.S. Navy forces routinely train together to improve interoperability and readiness to provide stability and security for the Indo-Asia Pacific region. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released) 170601-N-BL637-001

Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Groups in the Sea of Japan.

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Damaged USS Fitzgerald Yokosuka June 17, 2017 PHOTO CREDIT: PETER BURGHART/U.S. NAVYDamaged USS Fitzgerald Yokosuka June 17, 2017 PHOTO CREDIT: PETER BURGHART/U.S. NAVY. is an Amazon Associate website, which means that a small percentage of your purchases gets paid to at no extra cost to you. When you use the search boxes above, any Amazon banner ad, or any product associated with an Amazon banner on this website, you help pay expenses related to maintaining and creating new services and ideas for a resourceful website. See more info at