Mysterious Ship Crash Off Japan Coast Leaves 7 US Sailors Missing

Japan US Navy Collision

In case you weren’t paying too much attention to the news, a very weird incident happened earlier on Saturday, in the pre-dawn hours, when a US Navy Destroyer (USS Fitzgerald) crashed with a Philippines flagged cargo-ship somewhere off the coast of Japan.

The container ship was roughly four times the size of USS Fitzgerald and following the accident, 7 US Navy sailors were gone missing. According to US Navy officials, the search and rescue operation will continue on Sunday, as both Japanese and American vessels and aircraft will keep on looking for the Navy Destroyer crew members in the sea off Japan.

It is yet unclear how long it will take for the rescuers to gain access to all the damaged areas on USS Fitzgerald in order to thoroughly search for the 7 missing sailors. The US Navy Destroyer managed to get back to its home port in Japan south of Tokyo, in Yokosuka Naval Base on Saturday with its whole crew lined up on deck. The crew on the Philippine flagged cargo ship was questioned by officials with regard to the causes of the accident.

Besides the seven missing crew members on USS Fitzgerald, at least three sailors were injured during the crash. According to a statement from the US 7th Fleet, the crash affected a machinery room, 2 berthing spaces and the radio room. The vast majority of the 200+ crew on USS Fitzgerald were asleep during the incident in their berths.

The Philippine registered container ship, ACX Crystal respectively, is operated by Nippon Yusen KK, a Japanese shipping company and according to Masayuki Obara, a Japanese coast guard official, they are treating the crash as a case of probable professional negligence. All the 20 members on the ACX Crystal, a huge container ship which weighs 29,060 dead-weight tons are safe, while the ship’s bow was scraped and dented, yet the vessel suffered no major structural damage, unlike USS Fitzgerald (an 8315 ton Navy destroyer).

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko