US Navy Collision off Japan’s Coast, 7 Sailors Missing

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The US Navy and Japanese coast guard reported that seven sailors went missing and no less than 2, including the captain, were injured after a US destroyer bumped with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan before sunrise on Saturday. The video from the Japanese TV network NHK showed serious damage to the mid-right side of the USS Fitzgerald and a person on a stretcher being lifted into the helicopter.  The US 7TH Fleet said in a statement that the first Commander Bryce Benson was taken to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka and was in a stable condition.

It added that another injured individual was being evacuated, but no more details on the crew’s injuries. Others harmed in the crash were also being evacuated. The Fitzgerald had restricted force after suffering damage on the starboard side underneath the water line and a US defense official said that there was flooding in three compartments. It was still not clear about the reason of the nighttime collision between the destroyer and the container ship of four times its size. The most of the majority of more than 200 sailors would have been sleeping in their berthing, some of which supposedly overflowed. The Navy Chief Adm. John Richardson said that the Navy, Japanese maritime defense vessels, and the coast guard were attempting to balance the destroyer as it gone to shore.

The Navy said that the crash happened 56 nautical miles (103 kilometers) southwest of Yokosuka, which is home to the Seventh Fleet. The footage also showed that the damaged ship was moving bit by bit in calm seas, bordered by a tugboat. “Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the sailors,” said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet. The Japan coast guard said that it received a crisis call from Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal around (2:00 am) that it had bumped with the Fitzgerald southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. The family members of the crew members were eagerly waiting for the news of their friends and family. Rita Schrimsher said by telephone from Athens, Alabama that “Of course we’re nervous and scared and just praying”.

Her grandson Jackson Schrimsher is a 23-year old sailor on board the Fitzgerald. She said that she last spoke to him through Facebook Messenger on Wednesday. The Takeshi Aikawa of Japan coast guard said that so far no harm or damages reported on the container ship, he said. The NHK reported that the trader ship had scratches on the left side of its bow. The coast guard said that the Philippine ship is 29,060 tons and is 222 meters (730 feet) long. The Navy said the USS Dewey, medicinal help, Navy tugs and naval aircraft were dispatched. The Japan coast guard dispatched five patrol ships and aircraft carrying doctors to the site for search and save operations. The Navy’s Pacific Fleet said the level of harm to the Fitzgerald was being checked and the incident was under inspection.

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