Seven sailors are missing and at least two others were injured after the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine container ship off the coast of Japan in the early hours of Saturday morning local time, the Navy’s 7th Fleet said. One of the injured sailors medically evacuated by a Japanese coast guard helicopter was the ship’s commanding officer.
The Fitzgerald was operating about 56 miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, when it hit the container ship at approximately 2:30 a.m. local time.
The U.S. ship sustained damage on its starboard side and is experiencing flooding in some spaces, according to the 7th Fleet. Propulsion is limited.
The 7th Fleet tweeted around 2 p.m. local time on Saturday, “Flooding has been stabilized and Sailors from #USSDewey are assisting in damage control efforts.”
“There are seven sailors unaccounted for; the ship and the Japanese Coast Guard continues to search for them,” said a 7th Fleet statement.
The Fitzgerald remains under her own power and is making its way back to its homeport of Yookosuka. Several Navy tugs are enroute to assist it back to port if needed.
The destroyer USS Dewey and several U.S. Navy aircraft will join Japanese Coast Guard and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopters, ships and aircraft “to render whatever assistance may be required.”
Two sailors were medically evacuated by a Japanese coast guard helicopter.
One of the Medevac’d sailors was Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer. The 7th fleet later confirmed the sailors are in stable condition and are being treated for lacerations and bruises at the U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka.
“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…