Há sete marinheiros norte-americanos desaparecidos na costa japonesa, depois de a contratorpedeiro em que seguiam ter colidido durante a noite com uma navio de carga filipino com praticamente o quádruplo do tamanho.
Os 20 tripulantes do navio filipino, operado pela empresa ACX Crystal, estão em segurança. Entre os norte-americanos, houve três feridos, entre os quais comandante do contratorpedeiro, Bryce Benson, que está estável. Segundo o Washington Post, ainda não é conhecida a gravidade dos ferimentos dos outros dois marinheiros que foram levados para o hospital naval de Yokosuka.
As buscas pelos sete marinheiros desaparecidos estão a ser feitas pelas autoridades norte-americanas e japonesas.
O Presidente dos EUA, Donald Trump, reagiu ao acidente no Twitter. “Os meus pensamentos e orações estão com os marinheiros do USS Fitzgerald e as suas famílias. Obrigado aos nossos aliados japoneses pela sua ajuda”, escreveu este sábado.
Ainda não são conhecidas as causas por trás do choque entre os dois navios. De acordo com o Washington Post, o USS Fitzgerald, o nome oficial daquele contratorpedeiro da marinha norte-americana, circulava a três nós de velocidade — o que equivale a 5,6 quilómetros por hora — na altura do choque.
Depois do embate, o USS Fitzgerald conseguiu chegar à base naval norte-americana de Yokosuka, onde está destacado desde 2004.
Several sailors' bodies found on stricken Navy destroyer
EUGENE HOSHIKO and KOJI UEDA,Associated Press25 minutes ago
YOKOSUKA, Japan (AP) — 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, but a spokeswoman said
not all seven missing had been accounted for.
Searchers gained access to the spaces that were
damaged during the collision and brought the remains to Naval Hospital
Yokosuka where they will be identified, the Navy said in a statement.
Seven sailors had been missing, but Yoko Kato, a spokeswoman for the
U.S. Navy in Yokosuka, said not all were recovered.
She didn't say how many were found.
Japan's coast guard officials said the sea and air
search was still continuing at the site of the collision, 56 nautical
miles (103 kilometers) southwest of Yokosuka, home to the 7th Fleet.
The Navy said that the families were being notified
and provided the support they need during "this difficult time." The
names of the sailors will be released after all notifications are made.
Sixteen hours following the predawn Saturday
collision, the damaged destroyer was pumping out water as it limped back
to its home port in Yokosuka Naval Base south of Tokyo by sunset
Saturday, its crew lined up on deck. The Philippine-flagged container
ship was berthed at Tokyo's Oi wharf, where officials began questioning
crew members about the cause of the crash.
At least three other crew members, including the
captain, were injured in the crash, which damaged two berthing spaces, a
machinery room and the radio room and exposed a mangled mid-right side
of the ship. It wasn't clear how extensive the damage is below the water
Most of the more than 200 sailors aboard would have been asleep in their berths at the time of the collision.
"This has been a difficult day," Vice Adm. Joseph P.
Aucoin, the commander of the 7th Fleet. "I am humbled by the bravery and
tenacity of the Fitzgerald crew. Now that the ship is in Yokosuka, I
ask that you help the families by maintaining their privacy as we
continue the search for our shipmates," he said before the announcement
that the bodies were found.
The USS Fitzgerald's captain, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, was
airlifted early Saturday to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka and was
in stable condition with a head injury, the Navy said. Two other crew
members suffered cuts and bruises and were evacuated. It was unclear how
many others may have been hurt.
The Japanese coast guard said it received an
emergency call from the container ship, the ACX Crystal, reporting the
collision around 2:20 a.m. (17:20 GMT Friday). It was questioning crew
members of the ACX Crystal, which is operated by the Japanese shipping
company Nippon Yusen K.K., and was treating the incident as a case of
possible professional negligence, said Masayuki Obara, a regional coast
"Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS
Fitzgerald and their families," President Donald Trump said on Twitter.
"Thank you to our Japanese allies for their assistance."
The ACX Crystal weighs 29,060 tons and is 222
meters (730 feet) long, the coast guard said, much larger than the
8,315-ton Navy destroyer. The container ship's left bow was dented and
scraped, but it did not appear to have sustained any major structural
Nippon Yusen said all of the ACX Crystal's 20-member Filipino crew members were safe.
Conditions were clear at the time of the
collision, though Yutaka Saito of the coast guard said the area is
particularly busy with sea traffic.
Press writers Mari Yamaguchi and Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo and Cathy
Bussewitz and Jennifer Kelleher in Honolulu contributed to this report.