USS Fitzgerald’s CO Relieved of Duty as Ship Enters Drydock

The commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald that collided with ACX Crystal in June, killing seven US Navy sailors was relieved of duty temporarily on July 11 for medical reasons, the navy said.

“Cmdr. Bryce Benson, who is recovering from injuries sustained during Fitzgerald’s June 17 collision with the merchant vessel ACX Crystal, was relieved temporarily by Capt. Jeffrey Bennett, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 15,” the navy said in a release.

Separately, the guided-missile destroyer entered dry dock today to continue repairs and assess damage sustained from the collision.

The navy informed that the ship’s damage is being assessed so as to determine whether the ship will be able to travel to the states under its own power or will need to be towed, and  inform options for long term repairs.

Lt. David Reinhardt, SRF-JRMC’s Docking Officer said the ship’s hull would be inspected for any potential “abnormalities”.

The warship collided with the Philippine-flagged containership, operated by Japan’s NYK Line, on June 17, some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

Several investigations into the incident are currently underway, including those launched by the US Coast Guard, the Navy and the relevant Japanese authorities.

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