Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

US Navy names sailors killed off Japan

US Navy names sailors killed off Japan

Mia Sykes of Raleigh, North Carolina, told The Associated Press on Sunday that her 19-year-old son, Brayden Harden, was knocked out of his bunk by the impact, and water immediately began filling the berth, after their destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship four times its size off the Japanese coast.

The Navy said their remains were located in flooded berthing compartments, after divers gained access to the spaces that were damaged in the collision.

Aucoin said he did not know the exact circumstances before the collision but said he would launch an investigation, and that there will also be a safety investigation and other probes into what occurred.

The Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged container ship collided south of Tokyo Bay early on Saturday.

When the container ship hit the USA destroyer, Brayden Harden, 19, was thrown from his bunk, his mother Mia Sykes said Sunday, according to the Japan Times. Cmdr Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald's commanding officer, was transferred to US Naval Hospital Yokosuka by a JMSDF helicopter. The Fitzgerald suffered extensive damage and three large compartments, a machinery room and two berthing areas for the vessel's 116-person crew, flooded rapidly.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the Navy's 7th Fleet, described the damage and flooding as extensive, including a big puncture under the waterline.

Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that the ACX Crystal, chartered by Japan's Nippon Yusen KK, made a complete U-turn between 12:58 a.m. and 2:46 a.m. on June 17.

A containership that collided with a United States navy ship, killing several aboard, followed a unusual navigational course, according to the BBC. It was not clear when or if Japanese investigators would be able to check the Fitzgerald or talk to its crew, she said.

ACX Crystal was reported to have been travelling at 14.6 knots (27km/h) at the time of the collision.

Aucoin would not speculate on how the accident occurred, but said there would be multiple investigations into the collision, including one by the Navy's Judge Advocate General and one by the US Coast Guard.

"The crew navigated the ship into one of the busiest ports in the world with a magnetic compass and backup navigation equipment".

"It was a catastrophic event - a collision at sea", he said of the incident.

"The water flow is tremendous, and so there wasn't a lot of time in those spaces that were open to the sea...", he said.

"I ask all of you to keep the affected families in your thoughts and prayers, and respect their privacy as we work to get them the answers they deserve regarding their loved ones".

Rear Admiral Charles Williams, commander of Task Force 70, in a statement earlier praised the "extraordinary courage" of the Fitzgerald's sailors in stabilizing the ship and sailing the vessel back to Yokosuka under "exceptionally trying circumstances". The Japan Coast Guard says that up to 400 vessels a day pass through this area, without the benefit of designated VTS lanes.

The ACX Crystal reported the collision at 2:25 a.m. (1725 GMT) prompting Japanese authorities to initially log the incident at 2:20 a.m.

The deceased sailors were from all around the US, Axios reported Monday. Although the collision occurred in Japanese waters, worldwide maritime rules, could allow the U.S. Navy to claim some authority over the investigations.

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