Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Probe launched after seven sailors killed in ship collision

Benson took command of the Fitzgerald on May 13.

"You can't see most of the damage, the damage is mostly underneath the waterline, and it's a large gash near the keel of the ship".

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.

"Right now, we are focused on first things first, and that is the safety of the ship as we continue to damage control now that the ship is in port", Breckenridge said.

A 7th Fleet statement said the collision did "significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room".

"Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and their families", President Donald Trump said on Twitter.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Reuters) - 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.

The USS Fitzgerald was back at its home port in Yokosuka Naval Base south of Tokyo by sunset Saturday.

The Japanese coast guard said it received an emergency call from the container ship, the ACX Crystal, reporting the collision about 2:20 a.m. local time.

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"The water flow was tremendous, and so there wasn't a lot of time in those spaces that were open to the sea". Sykes says her son told her that the men sleeping on bunks above and below him were among those who died, while three died in the berth above his.

The Fitzgerald's captain, Commander Bryce Benson, was airlifted from the ship's deck after daybreak on Saturday to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka with a head injury.

None of the 20 crew members aboard the container ship, all Filipino, were injured, and the ship was not leaking oil, Nippon Yusen said.

It had been carrying 1,080 containers from Nagoya to Tokyo and a statement from Nippon Yusen KK, which charters the ship, said they would "cooperate fully" with the investigation into the crash.

The ACX Crystal weighs 29,060 tons and is 730 feet long, the coast guard said, much larger than the 8,315-ton Navy destroyer.

NYK and the ship's owner are cooperating with a Japan Coast Guard investigation into the collision, the shipping firm said.

It is not clear what caused the collision but the coastguard has said the area had been particularly busy with sea traffic at the time.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Tokyo on Saturday, Michael Penn, a journalist with the Shingetsu news agency said it was "very bizarre" that such an incident had happened.

They were not injured and, apart from dents and scrapes on the left bow, there was little sign of damage to the ship. The Philippine-flagged container ship was berthed at Tokyo's Oi wharf, where officials began questioning crew members about the cause of the crash.

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