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7 Sailors Reported Missing After USS Fitzgerald Collides With Container Ship Off Japan

It's not yet clear what caused the accident.

17/06/2017 10:07 AM AEST | Updated 20/06/2017 3:11 AM AEST

Seven sailors were missing and at least two were injured after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a commercial vessel 55 miles southwest of Yokosuka in Japan, Navy officials reported.

A search was underway for the missing crew members with the help of a Japanese Coast Guard ship on the scene.

Cmdr. Bryce Benson, the destroyer’s commanding officer, was injured in the collision and evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, where he was listed in stable condition, said a statement by the 7th Fleet, which is headquartered in the port city. 

A second Medevac was in progress for another crew member, though details were not provided. Other injuries were being “assessed,” said the statement.

“U.S. and Japanese support from the Navy, Maritime Self Defense Force and Coast Guard are in the area to ensure that the sailors on USS Fitzgerald have the resources they need to stabilize their ship.  Thank you for your well wishes and messages of concern,” Admiral John Richardson said in a statement. “All of our thoughts and prayers are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families.”

There were no reports of injuries on the container ship.

The collision occurred at about 2:30 a.m. local time on June 17, according to the Navy. The USS Dewey and two additional Navy tugs were en route to the scene soon after with medical assistance. The Japanese Coast Guard was the first on site and providing assistance

A video of the Fitzgerald shows significant damage to the starboard side of the destroyer after its collision with the container ship. The destroyer was taking on water, according to the Navy.

The full extent of the damage and the cause of the collision were not immediately clear.

The Fitzgerald can still move under its own power, though its mobility is limited, according to Navy officials. 

The container ship, believed to be the ACX Crystal, registered in the Philippines, reported the crash to the Japanese Coast Guard, which immediately dispatched two vessels and a helicopter, according to NHK, a Japanese broadcaster. 

An investigation is underway.

This article has been updated to remove references to the displacement and gross tonnage of the Navy and container ships, respectively. While the figures themselves were accurate, the two are not comparable and have been removed to prevent confusion.

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