Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

US Navy Destroyer Collides With Merchant Vessel Off Coast Of Japan

US Navy Destroyer Collides With Merchant Vessel Off Coast Of Japan 7 US sailors missing after destroyer collides with merchant ship off Japan coast
Saul Franklin | 27 June, 2017, 01:21

Seven missing sailors from the USS Fitzgerald were found dead in flooded berthing compartments following the warship's collision with a merchant vessel, a United States military official said.

The Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided missile destroyer, collided with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, more than three times its size, 56 nautical miles south-west of Yokosuka early on Saturday.

It added: "They are now being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified".

The U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement that the crash damaged two berthing spaces, a machinery room and the radio room.

"There was a big gash under the water", Aucoin said at the Yokosuka naval base, home of the USA 7th Fleet.

The Fitzgerald, which is significantly smaller than the container ship involved in the collision, "suffered damage on her starboard side above and below the waterline" that "resulted in some flooding", the Navy says. In the aftermath of the collision, the Navy destroyer took on water.

The bodies were found after the Fitzgerald returned to its base in Yokusuka, CNN reported. The two damaged berthing compartments house a combined 116 crew members, Aucoin said.

Three sailors were injured in the accident, including Commander Bryce Benson, USS Fitzgerald's commanding officer.

U.S. Navy personnel set up support and counseling services to help families as they sought updates on crew members.

The seven sailors didn't make it out of the berthing area, the Navy said.

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The Navy isn't speculating on any cause so far.

The ship, which handles general cargo, is manned by a captain and a crew of 20, NYK said.

The Fitzgerald, he said, is salvageable, but that repairs will likely take months.

The USS Fitzgerald being escorted to its mother port, the US Naval Base Yokosuka.

The ACX Crystal sailed into Tokyo Saturday afternoon with minor damage to its bow.

"The crew had to fight very hard to keep the ship afloat", he said.

The 154-metre (500-foot) Fitzgerald was pulled by a tugboat back to its base on Saturday, where divers searched damaged areas of the guided missile destroyer, which was deployed in the mid-90s.

Seven crew members are unaccounted for after the US destroyer collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship early Saturday morning.

Marine tracking data showed the container ship, the Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal, which was sailing from the port of Nagoya to Tokyo, performed a sudden 180-degree turn in the busy shipping lane south of Yokosuka and doubled back along its path shortly before the crash. The search at sea, has been called off, he added.

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