US Navy steering its destroyers like the State Department steers foreign policy
USS Fitzgerald crash: Seven navy crew missing off Japan
Seven US Navy crew members are missing after their ship collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan.
Among the injured is the USS Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, who was taken to hospital by helicopter.
The destroyer collided with the container ship about 56 nautical miles (104km) south-west of Yokosuka.
Aerial images showed heavy damage to the Navy ship’s starboard side after the collision at about 02:30 local time on Saturday (17:30 GMT Friday).
The collision occurred near Yokosuka, a Japanese port city that is home to the US 7th Fleet, which comprises up to 80 submarines and ships and including the USS Fitzgerald.
It is unclear where the 154-metre (505ft) guided missile destroyer ship was heading at the time.
The ACX Crystal, a 222-metre (730ft) Filipino-flagged container ship, was travelling between the Japanese cities of Nagoya and Tokyo.
Marine traffic records suggest the ACX Crystal made a sudden U-turn roughly 25 minutes before the collision with the USS Fitzgerald. It is not clear why it changed course.
Marine traffic records suggest it was travelling at 14.6 knots (27km/h) at the time of the collision.
MARINETRAFFIC.COM – The ACX Crystal appeared to make a U-turn before the collision, before rapidly adjusting course and setting off to Tokyo
Marine traffic records for the USS Fitzgerald are not publicly available.
How bad are the damage and injuries?
Japan’s coastguard is co-ordinating the search with US teams for the seven missing crew members. As of late afternoon local time, the 7th Fleet said the crew members were still unaccounted for.
The Navy ship’s commanding officer, Cdr Bryce Benson, was in a stable condition after being transferred to US Naval Hospital Yokosuka, according to Navy officials.
Two other sailors were flown to hospital by helicopter for treatments for “lacerations and bruises”, the 7th Fleet said on Twitter.
By mid-afternoon local time, it said that all flooding on board the USS Fitzgerald was under control. It is not at risk of sinking.
The ship has now returned to Yokosuka – under its own power, but with limited propulsion.
EPA – The damage to the ACX Crystal was less serious than to the Navy ship
The Japanese coastguard said the ACX Crystal weighed just under 30,000 tonnes, about three times that of the USS Fitzgerald.
It sustained lighter damage to its port bow, and has now reached Tokyo.
The Associated Press agency said there were no injuries reported among the 20 Filipino crew members on board the 222-metre (730ft) vessel.
What is the fallout?
EPA – Japan’s defence ministry issued an image of one crew member being transferred
Relatives of those on board the USS Fitzgerald have been posting on the US 7th Fleet’s Facebook page, requesting information on their loved-ones. An information hotline has been set up.
The collision took place in waters that get heavy traffic and that have experienced prior collisions, Japanese broadcaster NHK said. Ships travelling to and from Tokyo, as well as crossing the Pacific in both directions, pass through the bay where the crash happened.
NHK said that an association of commercial ship captains is calling for the creation of east-west lanes in the area to avoid collisions.
In a statement released on social media, US Navy operations chief Adm John Richardson said: “As more information is learnt we will be sure to share it with the Fitzgerald families and when appropriate the public. […]
All our thoughts and concerns are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families.”
One of the most advanced warships in the world – Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC News, Tokyo
The area where the collision took place is extremely busy, with shipping heading in and out of Tokyo bay.
However, the USS Fitzgerald is one of the most advanced warships in the world – with highly sophisticated radars systems.
At the moment the focus is on the search for the missing sailors. Later will come the investigation into how one of the world’s most sophisticated warships failed to avoid colliding with a 30,000-tonne cargo ship on a calm, clear night.
US Navy warship collides with South Korean fishing boat during a training exercise in the Sea of Japan
- USS Lake Champlain was engaging in training Tuesday when it collided with the 9.8-ton fishing boat off South Korea’s east coast
- Incident happened in the waters south of Ulleung Island at around noon Tuesday
- No injuries were reported as incident appears to be a minor collision
- The fishing boat, named 502 Namyang, carried six crew members and it was heading back to port at Guryongpo, North Gyeongsang Province, after the crash
A U.S. navy ship has collided with a South Korean fishing boat during training exercises on Tuesday in the Sea of Japan.
The cruiser USS Lake Champlain was engaging in training Tuesday when it collided with the 9.8-ton fishing boat off South Korea’s east coast, according to Yonhap News Agency.
‘There was an accident involving the U.S. cruiser USS Lake Champlain and the South Korean fishing ship 502 Namyang in the waters south of Ulleung Island at around noon today,’ a South Korean military official told Yonhap.
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The cruiser USS Lake Champlain, seen back left last week, was engaging in training Tuesday when it collided with the 9.8-ton fishing boat off South Korea’s east coast. It’s shown here behind the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson
The unidentified official said the incident appears to be a minor collision and that no casualties have been reported involving the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry has confirmed the substance of the Yonhap report but gave no further details.
The cause of the collision wasn’t immediately known and officials are said to be investigating.
‘It is quite unusual for a military ship to collide with a fishing vessel,’ an official from the Ministry of Public Safety Service told The Korean Herald.
‘Once the fishing ship returns to port, we will conduct an investigation to find out exactly what happened.’
The collision between the two vessels happened about 83 kilometers south of Ulleung Island in the Sea of Japan around noon
The fishing boat, named 502 Namyang, carried six crew members and it was heading back to port at Guryongpo, North Gyeongsang Province, after the crash, the Herald reported.
About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea as deterrence against potential aggression from North Korea.
The cruiser is participating in joint drills with South Korea’s Navy near the peninsula as part of the Carl Vinson Strike Group amid tensions with North Korea.
Other ships including the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy are also participating in the drills.
Just last week it was announced that Japan was sending its largest warship to protect a US vessel as it resupplied the strike group.
Japan deployed the Izumo (top), its largest ship built since the Second World War, to escort a US supply vessel (bottom) which is believed to be supporting the carrier USS Carl Vinson on May 1
The 800ft helicopter carrier Izumo left its home port of Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, on May 1 to escort the American vessel to the waters off Shikoku, around 400 miles away at the top end of Japan’s south island.
The supply vessel, which was not being named, is believed to be in the region to support the ‘armada’ sent by President Trump to warn Kim Jong-un off conducting a sixth nuclear test.
The Izumo is Japan’s largest vessel constructed since the Second World War, and its active deployment marks the first time new powers expanding the role of the country’s military have been used.
North Korea has continued testing long-range missiles despite the Vinson’s presence, with the latest coming on April 29, though a much-anticipated sixth nuclear test has not yet taken place.
The country’s communist regime warned on May 1 that it would carry out the test ‘at any time and at any location’ set by its leadership.
The last time the Japanese and American navies were on active deployment in the Pacific together, they were fighting. On May 1 carrier Izumo (bottom) guarded the US vessel (top)