James Stravridis, a retired Navy admiral who captained the Fitzgerald's sister ship, the USS Barry, told the Washington Post sailors shouldn't have sealed the doors without "knowing that all of your shipmates had escaped".
"They had to fight this ship to keep it above the surface", Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin said.
One of the U.S. Navy's most advanced warships collided early this past Saturday morning with a huge container ship in the waters off Tokyo Bay, puncturing a large hole below the destroyer's waterline. He is, according to various accounts, believed to have saved at least 20 men on board the damaged Navy vessel. The ship's crew then realized it had been in a collision and sailed back to try to determine what had happened. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. Unlike cars on highways, ships encounter each other from all directions, and confusion can lead to a wrong decision on which side is "give-way" or "stand-on".
"We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our fellow shipmates as a result of Friday's collision between USS Fitzgerald and a commercial container ship, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families, said Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley in a statement".
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For the Navy, investigators are trying to determine why the ship's radar and other sensors did not detect the Crystal in time to take steps to avoid the collision. AIS has been extended further by the addition of satellite monitoring of AIS traffic and the integration of AIS data into navigational beacons and local vessel traffic services (VTS)-think air traffic control for ships. The collision occurred after the Crystal made an adjustment of course to port (left), steering toward the Fitzgerald's track.
"The crew's response was swift and effective, and I want to point out - as we stand by the ship - how proud I am of them", Aucoin said.
He was rushed for medical attention at the USA naval base at Yokosuka, Japan, about 60 miles from the collision site. Cmdr. Bryce Benson, the Fitzgerald's captain, was injured when his personal quarter were significantly damaged in the collision. All Navy crews are trained extensively in damage control and emergency operations underway; that training may have kept the ship afloat and prevented more sailors from dying in the collision's aftermath.
The Crystal is classified as a mid-size container ship part of the Asia Container Express or ACX, an Asian container shipping trade subsidiary of NYK Line, a global shipping division of Japan's Mitsubishi.
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