Seven Sailors Perished, But How Did It Happen? *Open Thread*


By now, you have surely heard of the terrible accident at sea in which a container ship flying under a Philippines flag for a Japanese company broadsided the U.S.S. Fitzgerald, a Navy Destroyer. The incident occurred early in the morning on June 17, 2017, though there is dispute on exactly what time (1:30 a.m.? 2:25 a.m.?).

I have waited to weigh in on this wondering just how in the world this container ship, the ACX Crystal, in case you want to know, was even in a position to ram the Navy destroyer.  From ABC News:


Most of the nearly 300 sailors aboard would have been asleep in their berths at the time of the collision. Two berthing spaces, a machinery room and the radio room were damaged and began taking in water after the destroyer was rammed mid-right side of the ship.

Those who did not survive might have killed by the impact of the crash or drowned by the flooding, said Navy spokesman Lt. Paul Newell, who led reporters for a first look at the mangled vessel.

Japan’s coast guard officials said the sea and air search was still continuing at the site of the collision, 56 nautical miles (103 kilometers) southwest of Yokosuka, home to the 7th Fleet. […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Here is the U.S.S. Fitzgerald following the collision:


What you can’t see is the extensive damage below decks. That is where the sailors were berthed when they were lost.

The container ship fared much better than the U.S.S. Fitzgerald, with minor damage, according to the above-referenced ABC News report.

A Post and Courier editor, and former Naval officer, R.L. Schreadley, has a number of questions as to how this whole collision happened:

1. Where were the captains when the collision occurred? On the bridge? If not, why not? Who had the controls? (A retired Japanese admiral was quoted in one story suggesting that one or both ships could have been on autopilot. God, I hope the Navy hasn’t come to that.)

2. At what range did each ship first establish contact with the other? Visually or by radar? If on a collision course, which ship was required by rules of the road to alter its course or speed?

3. Did the relatively undamaged ACX Crystal stand by to render assistance required by the Fitzgerald? If not, why not?

Let me stop right there to make a comment about #3. For those who know little of boating and the safety requirements of being out on the water, you are REQUIRED to render aid to a ship or boat in distress if you are close enough to do so. You cannot go zipping by with nary a look back. No. If a vessel is in distress, you render aid. Period.

And now to the rest of Schreadley’s questions:

4. What time did the collision occur? (The Navy says it happened at 2:20 a.m. Based on interviews held with the container ship’s crew, the Japanese Coast Guard puts the time at 1:30 a.m. (Say what?!)

5. What is the explanation behind the ACX Crystal’s strange maneuvers before the time the Navy says the collision occurred? The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that MarineTraffic, a commercial tracking service [most likely relying on GPS] says the container ship “made a sudden turn as if trying to avoid something at about 1:30 a.m. before continuing eastward [toward port]. It then made a U-turn and returned around 2:30 a.m. to the area near the collision.” It gets curiouser and curiouser, as Alice in Wonderland might have it.

6. Did the Navy have a tracking system in place to ascertain the Fitzgerald’s maneuvers in the critical moments before the collision occurred? You would think it should have. Even one to record images painted on a surface radar (which the Navy may or may not have today) would be extremely helpful to determine what actually happened in the moments before seven young sailors lost their lives. […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Those are all excellent questions. I could not have asked better ones.

And I want to address #5, too so you understand just why Schreadley is asking about the crazy behavior of the container ship. The following diagram of the container ship’s path demonstrates why there is concern:

That’s some pretty, um, interesting piloting going on. Especially when you see at what point the collision between the ACX Crystal and the U.S.S. Fitzgerald occurred:

Uh, yeah. What the hell??

Meanwhile, seven souls have been lost, seven families torn asunder. Those sailors who were lost are:

– Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia

– Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego

– Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut

– Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas

– Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California

– Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland

– Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

May they all rest in peace, and may their families be comforted in their grief.

May our nation find answers as to how we lost these brave young sailors, and how a Navy destroyer could be rammed in the side by a massive container ship. Something ain’t right here, and they need to get to the bottom of this deadly collision immediately.

In memory of the seven lost, I leave you with the Navy Hymn in their honor:

This is an Open Thread.


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20 Responses to “Seven Sailors Perished, But How Did It Happen? *Open Thread*”

  1. kenoshamarge Says:

    Excellent post and great questions!

    Where is the interest in this incident?

    The media is more concerned with Trump’s latest tweet than with the fact that 7 United States Sailors lost their lives at sea in a way that is strange to say the least.

    I feel so sorry for their families and shipmates who must wonder why this happened. Knowing why can sometimes ease the pain. Not knowing adds to it.

    All who know me know my love of cartoons. Some are wicked snarky, some are funny and some are beautiful. I was lucky enough to find one that fits this post very well.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thank you, Marge. I had my own questions, but Schreadley’s were better put, especially given his experiences.

      It defies reasoning that this destroyer was broadsided. Something just ain’t right. Like you, I hope they have a GOOD, thorough investigation and get to the bottom of this. The families deserve nothing less.

      And how you found just the most perfect cartoon is a marvel. Thank you.

  2. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    This is a powerful story of one sailor’s tremendous bravery:

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Thank you for this wonderful story. This man’s courage should be front and center in the news not some silly tweet from some silly celebrity or politician.

      As Americans we need to know there are still good and courageous people among us. People that do more than point fingers and speak nonsense and ugliness.

      “It is believed that Rehm’s selfless act may have saved 20 lives.”

      What a wonderful epitaph for a man who ran into danger to save others and made the ultimate sacrifice.

      While they are grieving and mourning his family must also be very proud.

      John 15:13 – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Isn’t that just so powerful/bittersweet to read of this young man running into danger, saving so many others,while losing his life as a result? I agree – his family must be so proud of him and the true hero he is/was. What a courageous, brave, true hero Rehm was.

        And the Scripture is perfect. Thank you.

  3. kenoshamarge Says:

    Protesters Interrupt Trump As He’s Sending Prayers For Scalise. WATCH Trump And The Crowd’s Response.

    “I’d like to also take this moment to send our thoughts and prayers to our courageous friend, somebody that I’ve gotten to know very well, Steve Scalise,” Trump said amid loud whistles. “And everyone recovering from the assault,” he added.

    At this point, the audience’s reaction, a mixture of groans, boos and jeers directed at the whistling protesters, had grown so strong that Trump could no longer ignore the interruption and turned and stared at the disrupters with a clear look of irritation, eventually gesturing in their direction.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Can you believe the crassness of these people?! Protesting in the middle of thoughts and prayers for a shooting victim? That is just wrong…

  4. kenoshamarge Says:

  5. kenoshamarge Says:

    Mollie Hemingway: The FBI’s Briefing On The GOP Baseball Shooting Couldn’t Have Been More Bizarre

    The FBI admits that Hodgkinson:

    vociferously raged against Republicans in online forums,

    had a piece of paper bearing the names of six members of Congress,

    was reported for doing target practice outside his home in recent months before moving to Alexandria,

    had mapped out a trip to the DC area,

    took multiple photos of the baseball field he would later shoot up,

    three days after the New York Times mentioned that Republicans practiced baseball at an Alexandria baseball field with little security,

    lived out of his van at the YMCA directly next door to the baseball field he shot up,

    legally purchased a rifle in March 2003 and 9 mm handgun “in November 2016,”

    modified the rifle at some point to accept a detachable magazine and replaced the original stock with a folding stock,

    rented a storage facility to hide hundreds of rounds of ammunition and additional rifle components,

    asked “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” before firing on the Republicans,

    ran a Google search for information on the “2017 Republican Convention” hours before the shooting, and took photos at high-profile Washington locations, including the east front plaza of the U.S. Capitol and the Dirksen Senate Office

    We know from other reporting that the list was of six Republican Freedom Caucus members, including Rep. Mo Brooks, who was present at the practice.

    So what does the FBI decide this information means?

    Well, the takeaway of the briefing was characterized well by the Associated Press headline about it:

    “FBI: Gunman who shot congressman had no target in mind.”

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      It is beyond any modicum of logic for the FBI to have made that determination with ALL the evidence to the contrary. Seriously – WTH is wrong with them??? Are they so partisan now that they will debase themselves in front of God and everybody by claiming there is no there there with reams of evidence stating the opposite???

      The FBI needs to have a major Spring Cleaning. Now. They are derelict in their duty if this is the best they can do with all of the evidence they were given, not just in this case, but think of all of the terrorists they “investigated” and decided were A-Okay, like Hasan, the Tsarnaev brothers, and more? Yeah. They are messed up.

  6. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    How hard a decision this must have been. Surely it is one that will be haunting the officer who had to make this decision:

  7. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Can’t believe we will miss this major event (we’ll be back in Grand Cayman):

    So glad they will be live-streaming it so we can still see it…

  8. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    For a much lighter subject, Marge, a friend had this up on Facebook. I just had to share it with you:

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Love it! I sent it to Lou and he sent it to his mother. Of course we are all very much bird lovers so it really was right in our wheel house.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Wasn’t that just adorable? And I CRACKED up when the bird started telling on the woman to the man – hilarious!

  9. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    U2’s Bono made a very kind remark at a concert in Baltimore last week abt Scalise and the others shot, and then went to see Scalise’s staffers on Capitol Hill. What a stand up guy:

  10. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Wow – way to go Wisconsin!! It’s abt damn time someone held these ill-mannered youths to account for their disruptive behavior:

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Let’s hope it lights a fire under some other states.

      The typical Dem whining about “free speech” when they are not allowing others to speak and be heard.

      I am fine with protest – but not protest that shuts down dissenting voices. Or drowns them out.

      What are they afraid of from Ben Shapiro? Might they actually learn something besides the talking points from the left?

      Especially the stupid ones, the really, really stupid ones that call Ben Shapiro, a jew, a Nazi. Putz is far too kind a word.

        putz – noun
        a stupid or worthless person.
      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        It was stunning to see these Dems whine and complain abt free speech and shutting it down when they support those students doing exactly that. As someone noted at the article, Shapiro always allows time at the end for Q&A, which is their opportunity to engage with him. You know, in dialogue. Not shouting him down, or using air horns (also mentioned in the comment), and things like that.

        IOW, this will allow EVERYONE to have free speech – not just those whom these stunted children (not just the college kids) deem worthy of speaking.

        And yes, I hope some other states do the same thing. Perhaps it will be a start in reining in these out of control kids…

  11. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Ben Domenech has an excellent piece in the Federalist today abt the FBI’s inconceivable conclusion that Hodgkinson was not targeting Reps when he planned, plotted, stalked, and threatened (14 times they now know) Republicans. Moreover, turns out Hogkinson had been to Bernie Sanders’ office, and was in touch with two Dem. senators in his state Surprise, right? Yeah – the FBI is a laughingstock at this point:

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