U.S. and Japanese authorities say they are investigating why personnel on a U.S. destroyer and a massive Japanese merchant vessel took nearly a hour to report the deadly collision that killed seven sailors on the destroyer off the coast of Japan.
Officials from both countries say the accident was reported by both ships at approximately 2:30 a.m. Saturday, but tracking data shows the accident happening at 1:30 a.m.
The tracking data has the ACX Crystal, the container ship, making a u-turn shortly after 1:30 and returning to where it had been at 1:30.
A U.S. Seventh Fleet spokesman said the accident appears to have happened at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, not at 2:30 a.m. as the USS Fitzgerald reported.
Nanami Meguro, a spokeswoman for Nippon Yusen, the container ship’s operator, said the ship’s tracking information showed that it was “operating as usual” until the collision at 1:30 a.m. She did not have any information about the delay in reporting the accident.
“Because it was an emergency, the crewmembers may not have been able to place a call,” she said.
The collision is being investigated by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and Japan’s Coast Guard and its Transport Safety Board.
Earlier Monday, the U.S. Navy identified the seven sailors who were found dead in the flooded sleeping compartments of the Fitzgerald.