Seven sailors missing, three injured after U.S. Navy destroyer collides with container ship off Japan | Reuters
Seven sailors are missing and three injured after a U.S. Navy destroyer collided early on Saturday morning with a Philippine-flagged container ship south of Tokyo Bay in Japan, the U.S. Navy said.
The Japanese Coast Guard said the destroyer was experiencing some flooding but was not in danger of sinking, while the merchant vessel was able to sail under its own power.
The U.S. Navy said in a statement the USS Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided missile destroyer, collided with a merchant vessel at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT), some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, a rare incident on a busy waterway.
Three aboard the destroyer had been medically evacuated, including the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, who was reportedly in stable condition after being airlifted to the U.S. Naval Hospital on the Yokosuka base, the Navy said.
The other two injured were transferred to the hospital to treat lacerations and bruises, it said. The Fitzgerald, the Japanese Coast Guard and Maritime Self-Defense Force were searching for the seven missing sailors.
It was unclear how the collision happened. “Once an investigation is complete then any legal issues can be addressed,” the 7th Fleet spokesman said.
“The USS Fitzgerald suffered damage on her starboard side above and below the waterline,” the Navy said in a statement.
Japan’s Nippon Yusen KK (9101.T), which charters the container ship, ACX Crystal, said in a statement it would “cooperate fully” with the Coast Guard’s investigation of the incident. At around 29,000 tons displacement, the ship is about three times the size of the U.S. warship, and was carrying 1,080 containers from the port of Nagoya to Tokyo.
None of the 20 crew members aboard, all Filipino, were injured, and the ship is not leaking oil, Nippon Yusen said. The ship was due to arrive at Tokyo Bay around 4:30 p.m. (0730 GMT), the Coast Guard said.