Home / BUSINESS / Search goes on for seven U.S. sailors after collision off Japan

Search goes on for seven U.S. sailors after collision off Japan

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald,
damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel,
is towed into the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka

Thomson Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) – Rescue crews searched into the early hours on
Sunday for seven American sailors missing after a U.S. destroyer
collided with a container ship in the pre-dawn hours off the
coast of Japan.

U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin said the search was
continuing in a statement released nearly 24 hours after the USS
Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided missile destroyer, collided with the
much larger Philippine-flagged merchant vessel 56 nautical miles
southwest of Yokosuka.

“It’s been a tough day for our Navy family. It’s hard to imagine
what this crew has had to endure, the challenges they’ve had to
overcome,” Aucoin said.

U.S. and Japanese aircraft and surface vessels continued the
search after the Fitzgerald sailed into the port of Yokosuka
south of Tokyo. Three aboard the destroyer were treated at the
U.S. Naval Hospital, including ship Commander Bryce Benson.

It was not clear what caused the collision, which the U.S. Navy
said occurred at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT).

“Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and
their families. Thank you to our Japanese allies for their
assistance,” U.S. President Donald Trump said in a Twitter post
on Saturday.

The Fitzgerald suffered damage on her starboard side above and
below the waterline, the Navy said.

Japan’s Nippon Yusen KK, which charters the container ship, ASX
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 dwarfs the 8,315-ton U.S. warship,
and was carrying 1,080 containers from the port of Nagoya to

None of the 20 crew members aboard the container ship, all
Filipino, were injured, and the ship was not leaking oil, Nippon
Yusen said. The ship arrived at Tokyo Bay later in the day.

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

(Reporting by Tory Hanai and Megumi Lim in Tokyo; Additional
reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by James

Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2017. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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