Local families mourn loss of fallen sailors

SAN DIEGO — The family of a San Diego sailor who died in the collision between a Navy destroyer and a container ship off the coast of Japan said Monday he was an “adventurous young man” proud to be a part of his crew and of service to his country.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, was one of seven sailors killed Saturday when the Japan-based USS Fitzgerald and Philippine- flagged ACX Crystal collided.

Another local sailor, Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, of Chula Vista, was also among the dead.

In a statement, Douglass’ family thanked “the San Diego, Navy/Marine Corps and Japanese communities for the outpouring of prayers and support we’ve received the past few days. You’ve made a difficult time a little bit easier.”

“Shingo was a loving and loved son, brother, grandson and friend. He loved the Navy and was very proud to be part of the USS Fitzgerald crew. He felt a very strong bond with his Fitzgerald shipmates,” the statement said. “Shingo was an adventurous young man. He loved to travel, was a certified scuba diver and a Black Belt in karate, and played tennis. He was also an avid gamer, studied computer game design, and loved to attend Comic-Con.”

His family said Douglass “was very proud of both his Japanese and military family background. Shingo was born at the naval hospital in Okinawa and spent many summers as a boy in Japan, learning to speak fluent Japanese. He was thrilled to return in 2014, reporting for duty to USS Fitzgerald. Shingo served his nation proudly, and we are also very proud of him and his service. We loved him very much and his parents and younger brother will miss him more than words can express.”

The Douglass family also said they would “like to commend the crew of USS Fitzgerald for the heroic efforts to save the ship and many lives. We know now why Shingo was proud to serve with you.”

They requested privacy to grieve.

In the days following the collision, stories have come to light about heroic efforts made to rescue the victims, who were sleeping in compartments that flooded.

“One thing that my son told me, that no matter what, he has my back,” Carmen Sibayan said. “Every time, he never failed. He always had my back in anything.”

The Navy said sailors and community members in Yokosuka, Japan, have pulled together to assist Fitzgerald sailors and their families. The ship sustained serious damage on its forward starboard side, including flooding in two berthing spaces, a machinery space and a radio room, the Navy reported.

The vessel returned to port 16 hours after the collision.