On Wednesday the Archbishop for Military Services, USA offered his prayers and condolences for the sailors who perished on USS Fitzgerald after colliding with a container ship off the coast of south east Japan last week.
“Deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life on the USS Fitzgerald, I ask all of the faithful to remember in prayer the victims and their families,” Archbishop Timothy Broglio said in a June 21 statement.
“I express my heartfelt sympathy to the families whose loved ones perished in this unfortunate incident,” he added.
Twenty-five minutes after a Filipino container ship, the ACX Crystal, made a sudden U-turn, it crashed into the starboard side of the USS Fitzgerald, a destroyer, in the early hours of June 17 near Shimoda, Japan.
The hull of the destroyer was penetrated below the waterline, causing water to flood into the radio room, machinery, and two sleeping quarters for the crew. The captain’s cabin was also damaged.
Seven sailers died in the collision. Three men were also injured; they were quickly evacuated by helicopter.
Archbishop Broglio also expressed his sympathy for the survivors of the collision, saying: “My heart also goes out to all of the members of the crew who not only lost their esteemed shipmates, but also all of the personal belongings they had on board with them.”
“The Naval community at Yokosuka has responded with great care in attempting to meet the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of those who survived the collision,” he added. “May Almighty God give them continued fortitude in the days ahead.”
Most men out of the 350 person crew on the USS Fitzgerald were asleep, but sailors still acted heroically according to Seventh Fleet Commander Joseph Aucoin. He said the ship could have taken on more water and potentially sunk, but the crew worked well to keep the water from spreading.
The ACX Crystal sustained lighter damage to its port bow, and none of its crew of 20 were injured.
The USS Fitzgerald was first commissioned in 1995, and in 2005 it was deployed to counteract missile crises around the globe.