Seven sailors are missing and at the very least three, together with the captain, injured after a US Navy destroyer collided with a Filipino merchant ship off the coast of Japan early this morning (Saturday, June 17).
Footage from the Japanese TV community NHK confirmed extreme harm to the USS Fitzgerald and an individual in a stretcher being lifted to a helicopter.
The ship’s Commander Bryce Benson was taken to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka and was in steady situation, the US seventh Fleet stated in an announcement.
“Two sailors, in addition to the commanding officer, have been medically evacuated from USS Fitzgerald to US Naval Hospital Yokosuka for lacerations and bruises,” it added.
“There are seven sailors unaccounted for; the ship and the Japanese Coast Guard continues to search for them.”
The Fitzgerald started limping again to port at a gradual pace, with restricted propulsion after struggling harm on the starboard facet beneath the water line that prompted flooding in three compartments.
It will not be but identified what prompted the night-time collision between the ships.
The Navy, Japanese maritime defence vessels and the coast guard have been working to stabilise the destroyer because it headed to shore, Navy chief Admiral John Richardson stated.
The Navy stated that the collision occurred 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, which is the house port of the seventh Fleet.
Footage confirmed the broken ship transferring slowly in calm seas, flanked by a tugboat.
“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the sailors,” Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, stated.
The Japanese coast guard stated it obtained an emergency name from Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal in the early hours of the morning that it had collided with the Fitzgerald.
The fleet stated the USS Dewey, medical help, Navy tugs and naval plane have been dispatched.
The Japan coast guard dispatched 5 patrol ships and an plane carrying medics to the positioning for search and rescue operations.
The Navy’s Pacific Fleet stated the extent of harm to the Fitzgerald was being decided and the incident was underneath investigation.
Robespierre Bolivar, spokesman of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs, stated: “The division is carefully monitoring stories of the collision that occurred early this morning between a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel and US naval vessel close to Yokosuka, Japan.
“We are coordinating with the relevant authorities including the governments of the US and Japan to determine exactly the extent of damage and the number of casualties, especially if any Filipino nationals are involved.”