US Navy ship collides with merchant ship off Japan

U.S. investigators are now trying to determine why a warship collided with a merchant vessel, killing seven sailors off the coast of Japan.

Sixteen hours following the predawn Saturday collision, the destroyer was pumping out water as it limped back to its home port in Yokosuka Naval Base south of Tokyo by sunset Saturday, its crew lined up on deck.

Three aboard the destroyer had been medically evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, including the ship's commanding officer, Cmdr.

The 7th Fleet and a defense representative, who spoke at the briefing, said the sailors' families would be given the support they need at this tragic time.

US Navy guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald sails into its mother port US Naval Yokosuka Base, Kanagawa prefecture on June 17, 2017.

Family members of the missing were waiting on the pier with Aucoin when it arrived, guided by two tug boats.

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 weather was clear with a swell of about six feet at the time.

The captain, Commander Bryce Benson, suffered a head injury and was airlifted to shore, and Mr Aucoin said he is lucky to have survived.

Several other United States crew members were injured and had to be evacuated by air to hospital, including the vessel's commanding officer Bryce Benson. Richard Gourley of the U.S. Naval Forces Japan.

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When its crew is at full strength, the Fitzgerald usually has more than 250 personnel aboard and can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Marine traffic records suggest the ACX Crystal, a 222-metre (730ft) Filipino-flagged container ship, made a sudden U-turn roughly 25 minutes before the crash. The Crystal is operated by Nippon Yusen K.K.

Japan's Coast Guard told none of the 20 crew members aboard the merchant's vessel have injured And he also said that such type of incidents is rare.

Other investigations could come from the US Coast Guard and Japanese and Philippine authorities because of where the accident took place and the Philippine registry of the container ship.

Earlier, the 7th Fleet said the USA ship sustained damage on its starboard side and experienced flooding in some spaces. In the aftermath of the collision, the Navy destroyer took on water.

"The damage was significant, this was not a small collision", he said.

He said that much of the crew of about 300 was asleep when the collision happened at 2:20 a.m. Saturday, and that one machinery room and two berthing areas for 116 crew members were severely damaged. "I am humbled by the bravery and tenacity of the Fitzgerald crew". "Thank you to our Japanese allies for their assistance".

The ACX Crystal container ship is chartered by Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and owned by Dainichi-Invest Corporation, NYK said.

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