Seven US Sailors Missing
Seven US sailors are missing after an American warship and a merchant vessel collided off the coast of Japan. An investigation is being conducted in order to determine why the two struck each other. The USS Fitzgerald, a 10,000 ton guided-missile destroyer and the ACX Crystal, a 29,000 ton container ship collided early Saturday. The destroyer suffered severe damage to its starboard side. The container ship was only slightly damaged. The two vessels collided in a busy maritime zone which sees 400 to 500 ships crossing daily.
Sailors Could be Trapped in a Damaged Section
The collision happened about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka and 12 miles off the Izu Peninsula. US and Japanese crafts searched the area where the accident happened. The missing sailors could be trapped in a damaged section of the destroyer. In a statement released from the 7th Fleet it read, “It remained 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.”
Naval commanders praised the sailors for containing flooding following the collision, stabilizing the ship and sailing it back to port at the US naval base in Yokosuka, where divers inspected its damage and developed a plan for repairs and inspection. The statement reported that, “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.”
The merchant vessel is chartered by a Japanese shipping company. It is a container ship flagged in the Philippines. No one was hurt on this ship.