Palace: Govt ready to assist Filipino seamen in ship accident

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Malacañang said the government was ready to assist Filipino seamen aboard a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel that collided with a US Navy destroyer off Japan.

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In a radio interview on Saturday, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Philippine government, through its embassy in Tokyo, is coordinating with the relevant authorities, including the governments of the US and Japan.

“The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo is closely monitoring the situation in coordination with Japanese and US authorities after a US Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with the Philippine-flagged container ship ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan,” Abella told government-run dzRB radio.

“The Embassy said that they are ready to extend all necessary assistance to Filipino seamen onboard the ship,” he added.

Seven US crewmembers are missing and at least three were hurt in the accident, according to the US Navy said.

In a statement, the US Navy said that guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with merchant vessel ACX Crystal at about 2:30 a.m., some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

“The USS Fitzgerald suffered damage on starboard side above and below the waterline. [It resulted in] some flooding,” it said.

The US Navy said three aboard the destroyer had been evacuated for medical treatment, including the ship’s commanding officer, Commodore Bryce Benson, who was reportedly in stable condition after being airlifted to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka.

The other two injured were transferred to the same hospital for treatment of their lacerations and bruises, while their other injuries were being assessed, it added.

The Fitzgerald and the Japanese Coast Guard are searching for the seven missing sailors.

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