Charges dropped against crewmen over US destroyer ship collision

Japanese prosecutors have dropped charges against two crewmen who had been accused of failing to avoid a fatal collision between destroyer USS Fitzgerald and a Philippine container ship last June. One of the men was from USS Fitzgerald, while the other was from Philippine-flagged container ship ACX Crystal. The pair were in charge of keeping watch when the vessels collided south of Tokyo Bay on June 17th 2017.

The two had been referred to prosecutors earlier this month on suspicion of professional negligence, but the prosecutors decided not to indict the Fitzgerald watchman in accordance with the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement, under which the US has the primary right to exercise jurisdiction when an offence is deemed to have been committed while on duty.

Charges have been dropped against ACX Crystal watchman because prosecutors could not determine that he was liable for the collision.