What happened to the USS Fitzgerald?

In the early morning hours of June 17 the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald was involved in a what is described in media reports as a “collision” with the massive Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal container ship. The Fitzgerald returned to Fleet Activities Yokosouka under its own power.

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin spoke to members of the press about the incident on Sunday. His statement is posted here. The ship suffered severe damage and will require extensive repairs. The incident will be investigated.

In his statement Vice Admiral Aucoin praised the crew: “Heroic efforts prevented the flooding from catastrophically spreading which could have caused the ship to founder or sink. It could have been much worse.” He shed no light on how the incident occurred.

Seven sailors were killed in the incident. Our condolences to the families of the sailors lost in the incident.

What happened? CNN has posted comments by former Rear Admiral John Kirby here. Kirby served as Pentagon and State Department spokesman during the Obama administration. Kirby’s commentary takes up the responsibility of Navy officers and adds that “there will no doubt be others whose performance during the incident will be found wanting, maybe even negligent. They will also be held to account. There may even be courts-martial that result.”

Tom Lifson looks quizzically at the incident in posts here and here at the American Thinker. In the photos posted by Tom it looks like the container ship rammed the Fitzgerald. In his post today writes that the incident “is shrouded in puzzling behavior. This is an accident (if indeed it was unintentional) that should not have been possible.”


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