NYK boxship involved in collision with US Navy vessel was on autopilot: report
THE NYK-chartered containership that collided with a US Navy vessel off the coast of Japan on June 17 was on autopilot at the time of the early morning collision, a preliminary investigation has found.
According to tracking data from the Automatic Identification System, the ACX Crystal was being controlled by a computerised navigation system at the time of the collision, the US Navy 7th Fleet has confirmed. The possibility of the system having malfunctioned is one of the issues currently being investigated, the American Shipper reported.
Seven American sailors were killed and three others severely injured in the collision.
NYK reports that there were no injuries on board the 2,858 TEU ACX Crystal, or any oil spill from the Philippines-flagged vessel, which is owned by Dainichi-Invest Corp. The vessel was chartered by NYK on its 'PX1' (Phoenix 1) intra-Asia trade line linking Japan, Vietnam and Thailand ports at the time of the collision.
Although the ACX Crystal suffered little damage, the US Navy ship - which is nearly four times smaller than the containership - wasn't as lucky, and suffered severe damage.
According to the Navy, the collision affected the Fitzgerald's forward starboard side above and below the water line, causing significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space and the radio room.