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Missing US Navy sailors found dead

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The collision happened 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka and the extent of any injuries is being determined

The U.S. has called off its search for seven missing sailors after finding bodies in the sleeping compartments of the USS Fitzgerald, the Navy destroyer that collided with a massive merchant vessel off the coast of Japan early Saturday.

The bodies were found by Navy divers yesterday, a day after it returned to the base in Yokosuka with the help of tug boats.

The Navy didn't release the number of bodies found, pending notification of next of kin.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, is seen next to a tugboat (R) off Shimoda, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017.

The container ship's left bow was dented and scraped, but it did not appear to have sustained any major structural damage when it was docked in the Tokyo bay late Saturday.

"They are now being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified", it added.

Three sailors required medical evacuation, including the ship's commander, Cmdr. "There was a big gash under the water", Aucoin said at the Yokosuka naval base, home of the US 7th Fleet.

The Navy ship collided in the dead of night with a container ship four times its size off the coast of Japan early Saturday. Most of the more than 200 sailors aboard would have been asleep in their berths during the pre-dawn crash.

"The ship is salvageable", Aucoin said.

Similar records for the USS Fitzgerald are not publicly available. Benson is one of three injured sailors who were transferred by helicopter to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka for treatment after the collision.

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The collision badly damaged Fitzgerald's forward starboard side above and below the water line, causing significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent a sympathy message to President Donald Trump over the fatal collision involving a U.S. Navy destroyer. Yoko Kato, a spokeswoman for the US Navy in Yokosuka, said not all seven were recovered.

The Fitzgerald is based in Yokosuka and has a crew of approximately 330 sailors.

At the same time, I want to express my most heartfelt appreciation to our Japanese allies for their swift support and assistance.

When asked how many crew were awake and on watch when the incident occurred, and whether the ship's navigational equipment was working correctly, Aucoin didn't have any answers. The ACX Crystal weighs 29,060 tons and is 730 feet long, the coast guard said, much larger than the 8,315-ton Navy destroyer.

Desperate damage control efforts by the crew managed to save the ship, Vice Admiral Aucoin said.

Aucoin declined to say what might be to blame for the accident, the cause of which is being investigated.

Nippon Yusen said in a statement it is collaborating with the ship owner and fully cooperating with the investigation by the coast guard.

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.

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