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Tokyo - Bodies Of Seven Missing Sailors Found In Flooded Compartments Of U.S. Destroyer

Published on: June 17, 2017 10:29 PM
Last updated on: June 18, 2017 12:49 AM
By: Reuters 
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In this photo released by Japan's Defense Ministry, an injured USS Fitzgerald personnel is carried by U.S. military personnel, left, and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force members upon arriving to the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, after the U.S. destroyer collided with the Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal in the waters off the Izu Peninsula Saturday, June 17, 2017. APIn this photo released by Japan's Defense Ministry, an injured USS Fitzgerald personnel is carried by U.S. military personnel, left, and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force members upon arriving to the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, after the U.S. destroyer collided with the Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal in the waters off the Izu Peninsula Saturday, June 17, 2017. AP

Tokyo - The bodies of a number of sailors who were missing after the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a container vessel were found in flooded compartments of the damaged ship, the U.S. Seventh Fleet said on Sunday.

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Japanese media said all seven of the sailors who had been reported missing were found dead.

“Divers were able to access the space and found a number of bodies,” the Seventh Fleet said in a statement.

It said in an earlier statement the sailors were being transferred to a U.S. naval hospital where they would be identified.

“The families are being notified and being provided the support they need during this difficult time,” the Seventh Fleet said.

The Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided missile destroyer, collided with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel more than three times its size some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka early on Saturday.

Three people were medically evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka after the collision, including the ship’s commanding officer, Commander Bryce Benson, who was reported to be in stable condition, the Navy said.

The other two were being treated for lacerations and bruises.

The USS Fitzgerald sailed into port on Saturday evening, listing around 5 degrees, a U.S. Navy spokesman in Yokosuka said. The flooding was in two berthing compartments, the radio room and auxiliary machine room.

The bodies were found in the berthing compartments, the navy spokesman said, suggesting they could have been asleep at time of collision. There were 285 crew onboard.

The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 17, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship. (Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP)The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 17, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship. (Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP)

Benson took command of the Fitzgerald on May 13. He had previously commanded a minesweeper based in Sasebo in western Japan.

It was unclear how the collision happened. “Once an investigation is complete then any legal issues can be addressed,” a spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet said.

Japanese authorities were looking into the possibility of “endangerment of traffic caused by professional negligence”, Japanese media reported, but it was not clear whether that might apply to either or both of the vessels.

The U.S. Navy said the collision happened at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT Friday), while the Japanese Coast Guard said it was 1:30 a.m. local time.

The Fitzgerald suffered damage on her starboard side above and below the waterline, causing “significant damage”, the U.S. Navy said on Saturday.

Japan’s Nippon Yusen KK, which charters the container ship, ASX Crystal, said in a statement on Saturday it would “cooperate fully” with the Coast Guard’s investigation of the incident.

At around 29,000 tons displacement, the ship dwarfs the 8,315-ton U.S. warship. It was carrying 1,080 containers from the port of Nagoya to Tokyo.

None of the 20 crew members aboard the container ship, all Filipino, were injured, and the ship was not leaking oil, Nippon Yusen said. The ship arrived at Tokyo Bay later on Saturday.

The waterways approaching Tokyo Bay are busy with commercial vessels sailing to and from Japan’s two biggest container ports in Tokyo and Yokohama.

The damage of Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal is seen off Izu Oshima, Japan, after it had collided with the USS Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka, Japan, Saturday, June 17, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship. (Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP)The damage of Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal is seen off Izu Oshima, Japan, after it had collided with the USS Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka, Japan, Saturday, June 17, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship. (Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP)


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Read Comments (3)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 18, 2017 at 12:30 AM Moose Says:

As a civilian;
Are navy boats so vulnerable that it can be rammed unintentionally and on top of that have 7 people killed?
Just wondering.
(Of course I feel bad for the families)

2

 Jun 18, 2017 at 07:56 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Moose Says:

As a civilian;
Are navy boats so vulnerable that it can be rammed unintentionally and on top of that have 7 people killed?
Just wondering.
(Of course I feel bad for the families)

All naval vessels are vulnerable to collisions, if the impact is strong enough.

It's called physics.

3

 Jun 18, 2017 at 10:14 PM Moose Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

All naval vessels are vulnerable to collisions, if the impact is strong enough.

It's called physics.

Your insult notwithstanding you didn't answer my question.
We all know things break, but why is this ship either poorly re-Inforced or poorly guarded or both.

4

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