Collision? Ramming of the USS Fitzgerald has raised serious questions, few answers

by WorldTribune Staff, June 19, 2017

Delayed and distorted reporting from authorities and the media of the “collision” between the USS Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged container ship raise questions about what transpired in the sea off the coast of Japan in the early morning hours of June 17.

The incident “still being misreported as a ‘collision’ – is shrouded in puzzling behavior,” Thomas Lifson wrote for American Thinker.

The ACX Crystal after its ‘collision’ with the USS Fitzgerald.

“Under no circumstances should a U.S. Navy vessel possibly be damaged by a container ship at sea. Multiple systems exist to prevent this.”

The media “have distorted what really happened, by reporting a ‘collision,’ as if the ships randomly bumped each other in the fog or something,” Lifson wrote. “The truth is that the ACX Crystal, a ship with somewhat murky provenance, rammed into the Fitzgerald with calamitous results.”

Seven U.S. sailors died in the incident.

American Thinker reported that it received an email from a U.S. Navy mother whose son was aboard the Fitzgerald that raises serious questions.

The email (named redacted by American Thinker) said:

“My son is assigned to the USS Fitzgerald. I am unable to share his rate with you.

The information is short and not so sweet. The implications are disturbing.

The ship is registered in the Philippines. We do not know who the owner is. The container ship neither had its running lights or transponder on. That is an action taken willfully. Furthermore, for the container ship to strike with such accuracy is troublesome. Given what some have done with cars in Europe, what a feather in the cap it would be to sink a U.S. Navy warship. Think on that.

My son missed being washed out to sea by the blink of an eye. He was on his way to one of the berthing areas that was rammed.

Yes, language is important. ‘Rammed’ is the perfect word.”

Lifson pointed to an Associated Press report titled “Japan investigates delay in reporting U..S Navy ship collision,” reveals that “Japan’s coast guard is investigating why it took nearly an hour for a deadly collision between a U.S. Navy destroyer and a container ship to be reported. A coast guard official said (on June 19) they are trying to find out what the crew of the Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal was doing before reporting the collision to authorities 50 minutes later.”

Japan’s coast guard initially said the collision occurred at 2:20 a.m. on June 17 since the Philippine ship had reported it at 2:25 a.m. and said it had just happened. After interviewing Filipino crewmembers, the coast guard changed the collision time to 1:30 a.m.

“What was going on that prevented a prompt report?” Lifson wrote.

According to the Associated Press report, Nanami Meguro, a spokeswoman for NYK Line, the ship’s operator, agreed with the revised timing of the collision.

Meguro said the ship was “operating as usual” until the collision at 1:30 a.m., as shown on a ship tracking service that the company uses. She said the ship reported to the coast guard at 2:25 a.m., but she could not provide details about what the ship was doing for nearly an hour.

“Because it was in an emergency, the crewmembers may not have been able to place a call,” she said.

But, “what about the USS Fitzgerald?” Lifson asked. “Was it in contact with the Japanese authorities? If so, at what time?”

There will be an official naval inquiry “and quite possibly a court martial,” Lifson wrote. “The facts presumably will come out.”

“The most benign explanations revolve around incompetence. But suspicions are natural when events are systematically mischaracterized and reports are delayed.”

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