The USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and the ACX Crystal have collided off the southern coast of Japan.
Here is what we know so far:
The two ships collided. No known cause or blame at the moment. Seven US Sailors are currently unaccounted for. Three US sailors–including the Fitz’s CO, Cmdr. Benson–have been MEDEVAC’d to the nearest Navy installation, UNHS-Yokosuka, for injuries. No ACX injuries reported.
#FITZ UPDATE: 2 Sailors in addition to Cmdr. Benson have been medevac'd from FITZ to USNH-Yokosuka for lacerations & bruises.
— 7th Fleet (@US7thFleet) June 17, 2017
The Fitz is currently taking on water. The Fitz has sustained hull breach on the starboard side. The Japanese Coast Guard is involved in the SAR and damage control. The Crystal is inbound to Tokyo Bay.
U.S. and Japanese support from the Navy, Maritime Self Defense Force and Coast Guard are in the area to ensure that the Sailors on USS Fitzgerald have the resources they need to stabilize their ship. As more information is learned, we will be sure to share to it with the Fitzgerald families and when appropriate the public. Thank you for your well wishes and messages of concern. All of our thoughts and prayers are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families,” said Adm. John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations.
“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors,” said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. “We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance.”- Adm. Scott Swift (Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet)
Although it is taking on water, and can maintain course under its own power, it is being assisted by two tug boats and is in no danger of sinking.
The Crystal, a Filipino ship, had been chartered by the Japanese Postal Service.
That entire sea-lane sees thousands of craft daily. USNH-Yokosuka is the largest US Naval facility in Japan. At this time there is nothing more to report.
It is my sincerest hope that the tenacity of the joint search teams, as well as the sheer volume of traffic brings those sailors home soon, and safe.
Image courtesy of AP