|USS Fitzgerald after the destroyer collided with a merchant|
ship on June 17 2017 (Image by Japan Coast Guard)
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The U.S. Navy's guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a Filipino container vessel off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, early Saturday, leaving seven crew members of the destroyer unaccounted for and three injured, the U.S. Navy said.
Among the injured, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald's commanding officer, has been transferred to hospital but is reportedly in stable condition, while two other sailors have also been taken to hospital for "lacerations and bruises," the Navy said.
The Japan Coast Guard sent patrol vessels and an airplane to search for the missing crew, while Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force dispatched a helicopter.
The coast guard is investigating the accident with the U.S. Navy and plans to question the crew members of the ACX Crystal, operated by Japanese shipping firm Nippon Yusen K.K., with an eye on possible endangerment of traffic caused by professional negligence.
Japan has the right to investigate an accident occurring within Japanese waters, but the United States has primary jurisdiction regarding an incident related to a U.S. Aegis-equipped ship under the bilateral status of forces agreement.
The two countries are currently in talks on how to deal with the accident.