US Navy destroyer collides with merchant ship near Japan

A US Navy destroyer has collided with a merchant ship close to Japan with reports of a number of injuries. Seven crew members are also missing, according to the Japanese coastguard. The crash involving the USS Fitzgerald happened 56 nautical miles (103km) south-west of the city of Yokosuka at about 2:30am local time (18:30 BST) on Saturday.

Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, showed aerial footage of the US ship with heavy damage on one side. One injured sailor is to be evacuated to hospital by the coastguard’s helicopter, the navy said. In a series of tweets, the US 7th Fleet earlier said the USS Fitzgerald had experienced flooding in some areas, and the extent of injuries was being determined.

It said the ship was now on its way to Yokosuka – under its own power, but with limited propulsion. The coast guard said the other ship, which carries a Filipino flag, weighs just under 30,000 tonnes and is 223m (730ft) long.

In a statement released on social media, US Navy operations chief Adm John Richardson said: “As more information is learnt we will be sure to share it with the Fitzgerald families and when appropriate the public. […] All our thoughts and concerns are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families.”


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