Japanese authorities investigating ACX Crystal collision

The Japanese Coast Guard has begun an investigation into the collision between Philippines-owned but Japan’s NYK-chartered containership ACX Crystal collided with the USS Fitzgerald early on Saturday morning in Japanese waters while the ACX Crystal was en route to Tokyo. The incident occurred in a busy shipping lane, south of Tokyo Bay, and AIS Track shows ACX Crystal sharply changing direction twice that morning.

NYK said that it and the shipowner were cooperating fully with the Japan Coast Guard investigation.

Nearly an hour passed before ACX Crystal ship reported the collision to the Japanese coastguard, Japanese coastguard spokesman Takeshi Aikawa said yesterday, noting that the collision happened at around 01:30 local time but it was not until 02:25 that the Japanese coastguard was informed.

The US Navy, the US Coastguard and one other Japanese body are also conducting investigations. Under a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that defines the scope of US military authority in Japan, the US Navy could claim it has the authority to lead the investigations.

2008-built, 290,060 gt ACX Crystal is owned by Olympic Steamship Co of Cavite, Philippines, and managed by Sea Quest Ship Management Inc of the same city. It is reported to have been chartered to Japan’s NYK. It is entered with Japan P&I Club, which lists the owner as Sinbanali Shipping, Inc.