Bodies Of Missing USS Fitzgerald Sailors Found

But if the container vessel was approaching from the U.S. ship's right side, the destroyer had the obligation to give it the right of way, a Japanese coastguard spokesman said.

The U.S. Navy has identified the seven sailors who died when their destroyer collided with a container ship off Japan on Saturday.

Their bodies were found a day later when the ship returned to port and divers scoured damaged areas of the 154-metre (500-foot) Fitzgerald, which was commissioned in 1995 and deployed in the Iraq war in 2003.

Navy divers found a number of sailors' bodies Sunday aboard the stricken USS Fitzgerald that collided with a container ship in the busy sea off Japan.

As reported, the USS Fitzgerald was involved in a collision with a merchant vessel at approximately early Satureday while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

"The damage was significant, this was not a small collision", he said.

"There wasn't a lot of time in spaces that were open to the sea".

"You can't see most of the damage, the damage is mostly underneath the waterline, and it's a large gash near the keel of the ship", he said.

The Fitzgerald's captain, Cmdr. A huge chunk of the still-listing Navy destroyer seems to be missing. Benson, Fitzgerald's commanding officer, who was transferred to US Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is reportedly in stable condition. Two other crew members suffered cuts and bruises and were also flown out by helicopter.

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko). The damaged USS Fitzgerald, center, arrives at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, after the U.S. destroyer collided with the Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal in the waters off the Izu Peninsu.

The ACX Crystal weighs 29,060 tons and is 730ft, the coastguard said, much larger than the 8,315-ton destroyer.

The collision 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 initial Navy investigation will gather facts about what happened, with the 7th Fleet commander eventually deciding what disciplinary action is warranted, the official said.

They were not injured and, apart from dents and scrapes on the left bow, there was little sign of damage to the ship.

Obara said the Coast Guard was interviewing the crew of the Crystal to determine, among other things, whether negligent piloting by either side contributed to the collision. The U.S. Coast Guard would conduct its own inquiry, he said, and the Navy would cooperate with inquiries by the Japanese authorities.

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