|USS Fitzgerald (MMSI:338839000 Callsign:NFTZ)|
Tim Kelly of Reuters reports that Captain Ronald Advincula of the AXC Crystal (IMO:9360611) made a statement to the ships's owner, Dainichi Investment Corporation, in which he stated (not a direct quote of Ronald Advincula):
"The container ship steered hard to starboard (right) to avoid the warship, but hit the Fitzgerald 10 minutes later at 1:30 a.m."
-Tim Kelly, Reuters, paraphrasing the Captain of the ACX Crystal.Tim went on to say "Reuters was not able to independently verify the account" I'm not sure if that's akin to saying he didn't have time to look it up, or they could find no evidence to support the claim. In such cases I'd really rather they say flat out that the statement is a complete fabrication based on the available evidence, as is the case here. Please review the MarineTraffic.com derived data I published on June 17th (in this blog post) and I have included below again. Each dot can be clicked on for the precise time, position, and speed of the ACX Crystal. For a blow-by-blow description of the events (as I interpret them) from the AIS data, please see my previous blog post.
From the data below it is clear to me the statement from the captain of the ACX Crystal is complete fiction, and quite possibly the actions of someone who knows they are guilty of gross negligence causing the death of 7 American sailors. There is no missing 10 minute chunk of time before the collision at 01:30am(16:30Z); I believe his statement is completely made up to try and save his own hide.
I maintain that there is no evidence to suggest anyone was on the bridge between 01:30am(16:30Z) and 01:46am(16:46Z). It took ~16 minutes, after the collision, for someone to turn off the autopilot and start to slow the ACX Crystal down before a hard turn to port, making a "U Turn", and heading back to the site of the collision, and making the initial distress call on behalf of the USS Fitzgerald at ~2:25am(17:25Z).
Additional details about the ship reported by MarineLog.com confirm the captain's name, that there were 20 crew, and ship's specifications. Also of note; the ship was relatively new, built in 2008, therefore would be outfitted with modern navigational radar and communications systems. I mention this because there's such a variety of ships on the sea, it's worth noting this is one of the more modern ship, not an old rusty hulk with a consumer-grade GPS leaning on the window.