US Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collides with Japanese vessel
Last Updated Jun 17, 2017 2:14 AM EDT
The U.S. Navy’s USS Fitzgerald has collided with a Japanese merchant vessel, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports. Seven sailors are unaccounted for, said a spokesman for Chief Naval Officer John Richardson, and the Japanese Coast Guard continues to search for them. Additionally, two patients required medical attention, and other injured people are being assessed, the Navy said. The 7th Fleet said the flooding on board had been stabilized by 3 p.m. local time and sailors were assisting in damage control.
The Japanese Coast Guard is on the scene and providing assistance at the request of the U.S. Navy. The USS Fitzgerald is under her own power, although her propulsion is limited, according to the U.S. 7th Fleet. The USS Dewey, medical assistance and two Navy tugs are also being dispatched as quickly as possible. Naval aircraft are also being readied. The collusion was serious, but the extent of the damage and personnel injuries are being determined. The collision occurred at 2:30 a.m. local time on June 17, about 56 nautical miles off of Yokosuka, Japan, according to the Navy.
U.S. Navy / Flickr
Live footage shot from a helicopter Saturday morning by Japanese broadcaster NHK showed heavy damage to the mid-right side of the Navy ship, which appeared to be stationary in the water. People were standing on various parts of the deck. The USS Fitzgerald, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer commissioned in 1995, is based in Yokosuka, according to the Navy. Its crew includes roughly 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 enlisted members of the Navy.
The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship. It says the destroyer’s propulsion is limited. The Navy says the USS Dewey, medical assistance and two Navy tugs are being dispatched as quickly as possible. Naval aircraft are also being readied to help.
Japan and U.S. relations strengthened in 2015 through the release of revised guidelines, which provide new and expanded forms of security-related cooperation, according to the State Department. Japan provides bases as well as financial and material support to U.S. forces to maintain stability in the region.
An Alabama woman says her grandson contacted her from the USS Fitzgerald to say he’s OK.
Rita Schrimsher of Athens, Alabama, tweeted: “Just heard the sweetest voice and saw a wonderful face. He’s okay. Thank you all for the prayers.”
She says she spoke on Facetime with her 23-year-old grandson Jackson Schrimsher. She says: “It could have been worse so we’re grateful.”
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