Saturday, 17 June 2017

7 sailors missing after US Navy destroyer collided with Philippine container ship off Japanese coast

Seven US sailors are missing and the commanding officer of a US destroyer is among the injured after the warship and a merchant ship collided with Philippine-flagged container ship off the coast of Japan, the US Navy said.

The smaller guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald suffered severe damage to its starboard side.
"The collision affected Fitzgerald's forward starboard side above and below the water line, causing significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room," according to a statement from US 7th Fleet.

The statement hinted that the missing sailors could be trapped in the damaged area of the destroyer.
"It remains uncertain how long it will take to gain access to the spaces once the ship is pier side ... to methodically continue the search for the missing," the statement said.
The two ships collided around 1:30 a.m. local time Saturday in the Pacific Ocean, about 56 nautical miles southwest from the port of Yokosuka and 12 miles off the Izu Peninsula, the Japanese coast guard said.

The Fitzgerald had left the US naval base in Yokosuka, where it is based, earlier Friday for routine operations in the area, a US Naval Forces Japan spokesman said. 
The warship was towed back to Yokosuka, escorted by a Japanese coast guard ship, naval officials said. It arrived at port late Saturday, when divers began inspecting the damage.

Five Japanese Maritime Self Defense force ships were leading the search for the missing US sailors at the site of the collision, joined by another US warship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey, the 7th Fleet said. US and Japanese aircraft also were involved.

Source: CNN

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