AUTHORITIES in Japan are investigating a purported half an hour lapse in the reporting of the deadly collision between a US Navy Destroyer and a container ship.
Initially, the coast guard said the incident occurred at 2.20am and that the container ship had reported the incident only five minutes later. However, Filipino crew members later changed the time of collision to 1.30am.
The Associated Press quoted a coast guard official as saying that investigators were finding out why it took the crew Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal 50 minutes before they reported the incident to the authorities.
The Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided missile destroyer, collided with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel more than three times its size some 56 nautical miles south-west of Yokosuka early on Saturday.
On Sunday, the US Seventh Fleet said divers had found the bodies of seven sailors who were missing after the collision. Their remains were found in flooded compartments of the damaged ship.
The bodies were found in the berthing compartments suggesting they could have been asleep at the time of the collision. There was 285 crew on board.
It is currently unclear what caused the collision and Japanese authorities have said there were looking into the possibility of “endangerment of traffic caused by professional negligence”, according to an earlier Reuters report.
None of the 20 crew members aboard the container ship, all Filipino, were injured. The ship was not leaking oil.
The waters near Tokyo Bay are known as busy commercial waterways for vessels sailing to and from Japan’s two biggest container ports in Tokyo and Yokohama.