Japan’s coast guard has confirmed that seven crew members of a U.S. navy destroyer are missing after a collision with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship off the coast of Japan.
Japan Coast Guard official Takeshi Aikawa said the USS Fitzgerald reports that seven are unaccounted for and one is injured.
The U.S. 7th Fleet said on its Facebook page that it is working with the Japanese coast guard to conduct a medical evacuation for a sailor, and that there are currently no reports of fatalities.
The Japanese coast guard said it received an emergency call around 2:20 a.m. local time Friday from Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal that it had collided with the USS Fitzgerald about 19 kilometres southeast of the Irozaki cape.
Coast Guard spokesman Yuichi Sugino said coast guard patrol ships and aircraft were headed to the scene but said that no further details were immediately available.
The Philippine ship is 26,363 tonnes and is 222.6 metres long, the coast guard said.
The navy said the collision occurred 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, a city south of Tokyo that is home to a major U.S. naval base. A U.S. defence official said there is flooding in three compartments of the Fitzgerald.
The 7th Fleet said the ship experienced flooding in some areas, and it is heading back to Yokosuka.
The Pacific Fleet said the extent of injuries and damage to the Fitzgerald are being determined, and the incident is under investigation.