Top two officers of the USS Fitzgerald face career-ending discipline after collision that killed 7
The leadership of the stricken destroyer USS Fitzgerald will be disciplined following a June 17, collision off the Sea of Japan that killed seven members of the crew, a senior Navy official said Thursday.
The Navy may remove from duty the commanding officer, executive officer and senior enlisted sailors on the Fitzgerald for mistakes that led to the crash, Admiral William Moran, vice chief of naval operations, told reporters at the Pentagon, according to media reports.
Almost a dozen sailors, including those who critically stood watch in the ship's bridge, will face discipline, and the majority of the punishments will be announced Friday, Moran said.
He said the bridge team "lost situational awareness" before the 505-foot (153-meter), 9,000-ton destroyer was struck by MV ACX Crystal, a 29,000-ton Philippine-flagged container ship.
It was not clear whether any sailor would stand trial at a court-martial.
A Navy report unveiled late Thursday showed that the collision at 01.20 a.m. caught many of the crew members sleeping, and resulted in one of the berthings housing 35 sailors being submerged within a minute.
The crew shouted "water on deck" and "get out", according to the report, as they tried to make their way out fighting waters and floating furniture.
Two sailors waited at the foot of the compartment's ladder to help the others evacuate, the report explained.
"The choices made by these two sailors likely saved the lives of at least two of their shipmates," it read.