U.S. Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald sailed back to its base in Yokosuka, with seven of its sailors still missing after it collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship more than three times its size in eastern Japan early on Saturday.
The Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided missile destroyer, collided with the merchant vessel at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT), some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, the Navy said.
Three aboard the destroyer had been medically evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, including the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, who was reported to be in stable condition, the Navy said. The other two were being treated for lacerations and bruises, while other injured were being assessed aboard the ship, it said.
Search and rescue efforts by U.S. and Japanese aircraft and surface vessels were continuing for the seven missing sailors, the Navy said. Their names are being withheld until the families have been notified, it said.
Benson took command of the Fitzgerald on May 13. He had previously commanded a minesweeper based in Sasebo in western Japan.