Several US sailors dead after merchant ship rams USS Fitzgerald off Japan coast

The damaged USS Fitzgerald
Source: Eugene Hoshiko/AP
The damaged USS Fitzgerald
Source: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

According to the U.S. Navy, "a number of" the U.S. sailors who went missing after a cargo ship barreled into the USS Fitzgerald on Saturday have died.

In its latest statement, the Navy did not offer an exact death toll. According to the New York Times, however, a search and rescue mission for the seven missing soldiers has concluded.

The collision, which occurred around 2:30 a.m. local time off the coast of Japan, caused severe damage to the ship's starboard side above and below the water line and caused flooding in several parts of the ship, according to a statement obtained by CNN. The bodies of the missing sailors were found in the ship's flooded berthing compartments. The Navy plans to release names after the sailors' families have been notified.

The damaged USS Fitzgerald
Source: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

The merchant vessel that collided with the Fitzgerald is the ACX Crystal, a container ship. The container ship was flagged in the Philippines, though currently chartered by a Japanese shipping company. The two collided about two hours before the ACX Crystal was expected to dock in Tokyo. The Fitzgerald has since been towed to port.

ACX Crystal
Source: Uncredited/AP

Pictures released of the ACX Crystal show damage to the ship's bow.

According to the website Marine Traffic, the ACX Crystal weighs 29,060 tons, while the USS Fitzgerald is 10,000 tons, CNN reported.

Carl Schuster, former director of operations at the US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center and a Hawaii Pacific University professor, told CNN that tight maneuvering could have been the problem. He also said the Fitzgerald's much smaller size, about one third the tonnage of the ACX Crystal, makes it vulnerable.

This is the second collision in two months in the region. According to CNN, in May, a South Korean fishing boat collided with a U.S. Navy ship.

June 18, 2017, 9:43 a.m.: This article has been updated.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew Rodriguez is a Staff Writer at Mic. He is a queer Latino New Yorker who enjoys female rappers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Flannery O'Connor. He is a former editor at TheBody.com and he is working on a memoir.

MORE FROM

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.