US Navy says bodies of sailors found on ship

19 June, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • US Navy says bodies of sailors found on ship

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin declined to say how numerous seven missing sailors had been recovered from the Fitzgerald because the families of those who died were still being informed Sunday.

USA investigators are now trying to determine why a warship collided with a merchant vessel, killing seven sailors off the coast of Japan.

The bodies were taken to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka.

"Our government expresses its heartfelt solidarity with the United States at this hard time, and will spare no effort in supplying any and all assistance", Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin addressed reporters at a Navy base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, but wouldn't say how many bodies were recovered, pending notification of next of kin. Please consider contributing to Eurasia Review, as we are truly independent and do not receive financial support from any institution, corporation or organization.

The Japanese Coast Guard said it was questioning crew members of the Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal to investigate the cause of the collision.

Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and their families.

Three aboard the destroyer were treated at the US Naval Hospital, including ship Commander Bryce Benson.

"There's always risk involved with patrolling the high seas", Breckenridge said, "and this exemplifies some of that going into harm's way that's part of the routine of being in the United States Navy".

It was unclear how the collision happened.

"This has been a hard day", Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the Seventh Fleet, said as the badly damaged USS Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided-missile destroyer, limped back into its home port at Yokosuka Naval Base, south of Tokyo, after emergency efforts at sea to control flooding and before the deaths were announced.

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The Fitzgerald is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer with a crew of approximately 330 sailors.

Most of the damage occurred below the waterline in the form of a huge gash to the hull near the ship's keel, which led to a "tremendous" amount of water rushing into two berthing cabins and a machinery room, he said.

In May, the USA navy's USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel, but both ships were able to operate under their own power.

Earlier, the 7th Fleet said the US ship sustained damage on its starboard side and experienced flooding in some spaces.

"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.

"Thank you for your well wishes and messages of concern".

Nippon Yusen K.K., the Japanese shipping company that operates the Philippine-flagged container ship, said all of its 20-member Filipino crew was safe.

A US destroyer was back in its home port after colliding before dawn Saturday with a container ship four times its size, leaving seven sailors missing. Conditions at the time were clear, though the area - about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka - is often busy with sea traffic.

"We can't comment on the accident as it's being handled by the Japanese coastguard", a spokesman for the container ship's Japanese owner, NYK Line, told AFP on Saturday.

At around 29,000 tons displacement, the ship dwarfs the 8,315-ton USA warship. He said he was doing so out of respect for the families.

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