Sailors Missing After US Destroyer Collides with Merchant Ship in Pacific


The Fitzgerald is reportedly able to sustain itself using its own power; however, is "limited" in movement.

Rescue crews searched into the early hours on Sunday for seven American sailors missing after a USA destroyer collided with a container ship in the pre-dawn hours off the coast of Japan.

The Japanese company that had chartered the ship said none of its 20 crew members were injured.

Naval commanders praised the sailors for containing flooding caused by the collision, stabilizing the ship and sailing it back to port at the USA naval base in Yokosuka, where divers inspected its damage and developed a plan for repairs and inspection. So far, at least three sailors are said to have been evacuated.

The Navy said that the USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant ship 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, a city south of Tokyo that is home to a U.S. Naval base.

The U.S. 7th Fleet says on its Facebook page that it is working with the Japanese Coast Guard to conduct a medical evacuation for a sailor by helicopter, and that there are now no reports of deaths.

At the time of the crash, the Fitzgerald was returning to a USA naval base in Japan after completing a training exercise with US and Japanese warships.

Relatives of crew members of a U.S. Navy ship that collided with a merchant ship off Japan are awaiting news of their loved ones.

Family members were frantically seeking news, appealing via social media for calls from sailors aboard the ship as it slowly made its way to its home base.

USS Fitzgerald arrives at the US naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo. "Thank you to our Japanese allies for their assistance", U.S. President Donald Trump said in a Twitter post on Saturday. NPR report, that the Fitzgerald collided with the container ship ACX Crystal, a vessel three-times her size.

The Navy says the ship was damaged above and below the water line.

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An earlier statement from the Seventh Fleet said that the crash caused "significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room".

Most of the more than 200 sailors aboard would have been asleep in their berths during the pre-dawn crash.

Water was being pumped out of flooded areas and it was unclear how long it would take to get into the crushed mid-right side of the ship.

"This has been a hard day", said Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, the commander of the 7th Fleet.

President Donald Trump retweeted an update Saturday from the U.S. 7th Fleet on the ship's status and the search-and-rescue mission, saying: "Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and their families".

The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, June 17, 2017.

Among them was the USS Fitzgerald's commanding officer, Bryce Benson, who was evacuated by helicopter and was in a stable condition at a USA navy hospital in the Japanese city, the navy said.

Two other crew members suffered cuts and bruises and were evacuated, it said.

The waterways approaching Tokyo Bay are busy with commercial vessels sailing to and from Japan's two biggest container ports in Tokyo and Yokohama.

A U.S. defence official told AFP that "sailors are de-watering" flooded areas of the ship. "He's okay. Thank you all for the prayers", tweeted Rita Schrimsher of Athens, Alabama, after speaking with her 23-year-old grandson, Jackson Schrimsher, via Facetime.