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US Navy Ship Returns to Base in Japan After Collision

  • VOA News

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, is seen off Shimoda, Japan, June 17, 2017, in this photo taken by Kyodo.

The U.S. Navy destroyer that collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan has returned to its base.

The USS Fitzgerald returned to Yokosuka, Japan Saturday. Search and rescue efforts continue for the ship's seven missing sailors.

Earlier, the Navy said two crew members in addition to commanding officer Bryce Benson were injured and had been “medically evacuated” from the Fitzgerald to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka.

WATCH: U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin on ship collision

The commander is said to be in stable condition, while the crew members are being treated for lacerations and bruises, the Navy said.

The merchant vessel ACX Crystal sailed into Tokyo Saturday afternoon with minor damage. No one on the Philippine-flagged container ship was reported injured.

According to Jiji Press news agency, the ACX Crystal captain said his ship was “sailing in the same direction as the U.S. destroyer and then collided.”

A Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, damaged by colliding with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, is seen off Izu Oshima island, Japan, June 17, 2017, in this photo taken by Kyodo.
A Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, damaged by colliding with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, is seen off Izu Oshima island, Japan, June 17, 2017, in this photo taken by Kyodo.

Early morning collision

The collision happened about 2:30 a.m. local time Saturday about 100 kilometers southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, according to the Navy's 7th Fleet, which operates in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Video shot from a helicopter Saturday morning by Japanese broadcaster NHK showed heavy damage to the right, or starboard side, of the Navy ship, just in front of the vessel's control area.

The Navy said the destroyer had “experienced flooding in some spaces.”

The 29,000-ton Philippine ship is 222 meters long, while the 8,315-ton Navy destroyer is 154 meters long.

Such collisions between two ships are rare. It was not immediately clear what caused the vessels to collide.

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