U.S. Navy Destroyer Fitzgerald Collides with Philippine-Flagged Merchant Ship near Japan

AT SEA - SEPTEMBER 8: (FILE PHOTO) In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) is on patrol on Sept. 8, 2014, in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific …
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman David Flewellyn/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

The U.S. Navy destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine merchant vessel at approximately 2:30 a.m. local time on Friday, while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

According to the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, the USS Fitzgerald collided with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal, a 30,000-ton cargo ship.

At least one sailor is injured, according to 7th Fleet. Seven others are unaccounted for, according to a Japanese broadcaster NHK news network.

The Japanese Coast Guard assisted in conducting a medical evacuation, or medevac, for the injured sailor. There are no reports yet of casualties, and the extent of all personnel injuries is still being determined, the Navy said.

Japanese Coast Guard cutters IZUNAMI and KANO are on station, as well as a helicopter, reports the Navy.

The Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer that carries about 330 sailors, suffered damage on her starboard — or right side — above and below the waterline, resulting in flooding in some places.

According to the Navy Times, the crew is fighting to save the ship.

The commanding officer was incapacitated in the accident and the executive officer is in command, the Times reported. Initial reports suggested Auxiliary Machine Room 1 and two crew berthings were completely flooded, according to the outlet.

The Navy said the full extent of damage is still being determined.

The Navy said the Fitzgerald is currently proceeding back to Yokosuka at 3 knots under her own power, although with limited propulsion.

Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, a U.S. Navy base, is sending tugs to assist, the Navy said. The USS Dewey, another destroyer, as well as medical assistance, have also been dispatched.

“Naval aircraft are also being readied,” it said.


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