More fishiness in the ramming of USS Fitzgerald

The ramming of the USS Fitzgerald – still being misreported as a "collision" – is shrouded in puzzling behavior.  This is an accident (if indeed it was unintentional) that should not have been possible.  Now comes news of something very suspicious.  The Associated Press has just filed a non-bylined story, "Japan investigates delay in reporting US Navy ship collision," that reveals:

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 Monday 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.

The coast guard initially said the collision occurred at 2:20 a.m. on Saturday because the Philippines ship had reported it at 2:25 a.m. and said it just happened.  After interviewing Filipino crewmembers, the coast guard has changed the collision time to 1:30 a.m.

What was going on that prevented a prompt 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.

What about the USS Fitzgerald?  Was it in contact with the Japanese authorities?  If so, at what time?

There will be a naval official inquiry and quite possibly a court martial.  The facts presumably will come out.

... officials are planning to get hold of a device with communication records to examine further details of the crash. Japan's Transport Safety Board also started an accident investigation Monday[.]

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

If you experience technical problems, please write to