Thursday, July 27, 2017

USS Fitzgerald Was Likely At Fault in Collision with ACX Crystal

The temporary patch on the Fitzgerald's hull, top (Navy)

Maritime Executive
American defense officials said Friday that initial findings indicate that the destroyer USS Fitzgerald was likely at fault in her collision with the container ship ACX Crystal on June 17.
Defense officials told CNN and Reuters that the early results of the investigation show that the Fitzgerald was at fault, and that a loss of situational awareness was a primary factor in the collision.There was not a lot that went right leading up to the crash. There were a string of errors, but they did a lot after the collision to save lives and the ship,” an official with knowledge of the inquiry told Reuters. He added that the investigators have already collected radar data from the time of the incident and testimony from the crew, and that it was unlikely that the initial conclusions would change. 
Two defense officials speaking with CNN confirmed this account. "They did nothing until the last second," one official said. "A slew of things went wrong." Another Navy official said the crash "will wind up being our fault."

Japan has nearly completed it's investigation and the US has not cooperated.

Officials say the US is exercising its right to investigate its ship and not share the information with Japan, even though the crash took place in Japanese territorial waters. This is allowed under the bilateral Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA), and though Japan Coast Guard officials said they’re still considering cooperation with Washington, nothing has yet been confirmed.
The cause of the accident is also being investigated by experts from the Japan Transport Safety Board, and if there is no information forthcoming from the US officials may have to compile a report based only on the information they’ve gathered, according board spokesman Katsunori Takahashi. The spokesman pointed out that there have been other instances where Washington did not cooperate on an investigation.
My opinion? The US isn't cooperating so they can spin their investigation however they please.
Spin won't take away from the fact the USS Fitzgerald was at fault- There may be legal issues for the US in this matter, which may make non cooperation more to their advantage. Look how many died due to carelessness and/or outright negligence.

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