The USS Fitzgerald, a U.S. Navy warship currently on assignment supporting the security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan early Saturday morning. According to CNN, the collision occurred 56 nautical miles from Yokosuka, Japan, which is roughly 30 miles south of Tokyo. The extent of the damage to the Fitzgerald, as well as possible injuries to the approximately 330 American sailors on board, weren’t initially known at first. However, the original report notes ships from the Japanese Coast Guard had to assist the Fitzgerald during its return to port.
The collision between the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and the ACX Crystal from the Philippines occurred sometime around 2:30am local time on Saturday. Per a U.S. Navy official, “emergency procedures have been put in place and the ship is not in danger of sinking at this time.” Once the boat made it back to port, however, those on the scene were able to offer a better picture of what happened. “The USS Fitzgerald suffered damage to its starboard side above and below the waterline, resulting in some flooding,” another official told CNN.
A subsequent press release by the Navy indicated, “[t]he extent of number of personnel injuries is being determined,” though the Japanese Coast Guard was offering assistance with “a medevac via helicopter for one Sailor.” The name of the injured Fitzgerald crew member was not released in the statement. Meanwhile, CNN added that the ship had just “completed $21 million in upgrades and repairs in February.”