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US warship, Philippine merchant vessel collide near Japan

A US Navy warship has collided with a Philippine merchant vessel in Japanese waters.

At least 7 US sailors are still missing with on skipper injured.

The incident took place at about 2:30 am local time 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, and involved the USS Fitzgerald guided-missile destroyer, the US Navy said Friday.

“USS Fitzgerald involved in a collision with Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal. Japanese Coast Guard are on scene,” the Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a tweet.

Early reports pointed to some injuries to the US personnel and one injured US sailor has so far been taken to the hospital by a Japanese coast guard helicopter.

According to Japan’s NHK television, seven others were still unaccounted for on the American Navy ship.

The television channel added that the accident had rendered the USS Fitzgerald inoperable due to flooding.

The USS Fitzgerald (File photo)

A US Defense Department official told CNN that the warship was not under her own power and Japanese tugs were underway to tow it back to its base. Another official said the damage was “significant.”

Unofficial reports stated that water had made its way into three compartments of the vessel.

The 505-foot USS Fitzgerald is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, commissioned in 1995, and is based in Yokosuka, according to the US Navy.

Some 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 enlisted members of the Navy operate the warship.

The ship underwent a $21 million upgrade and repair operation in February and was forward deployed to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the service said.

Japan and the US strengthened their military cooperation in 2015 by announcing a series of revised guidelines that allowed American warships use Japanese bases to expand its presence in region.

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