"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. He wouldn't say how many bodies were recovered, pending notification of next of kin. The search at sea, has been called off, he added.
"Heroic efforts prevented the flooding from catastrophically spreading which could have caused the ship to founder or sink". "The damage was significant", he said.
The owners of the commercial ship reported that all 20 of its Filipino crew were safe. "It will take months, hopefully under a year" for repairs. "All of our thoughts and prayers are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families".
The destroyer collided with the container ship - four times the size of the naval vessel - about 104km south-west of military port city Yokosuka. Under global maritime rules, a vessel must give way to a ship passing on the starboard side, meaning the Crystal had the right of way.
Two others were airlifted off the ship and treated in the hospital for lacerations and bruises.
Aucoin said he did not know the exact circumstances before the collision but said he would launch an investigation, and that there will also be a safety investigation and other probes into what occurred.
Two berthing spaces, a machinery space and the radio room are said to have been damaged and flooded as a result of the crash.
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The Navy said the dead USA crew were found by the divers. Benson was taken to the U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka. He had previously commanded a minesweeper based in Sasebo in western Japan.'PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE'It was unclear how the collision happened.
Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan, Rear Adm. Greg Fenton, echoed the same message, saying, "Navy Region Japan and the shore enterprise are 100% committed to providing support to these families during this hard time".
The U.S. Navy says the search is continuing for seven missing American sailors in the sea off Japan, after a collision between a Navy destroyer and a huge cargo ship.
At around 29,000 tons displacement, the ship dwarfs the 8,315-ton USA warship. It is operated by Nippon Yusen K.K., a Japanese shipping company, and it was on its way from Nagoya port at the time of the collision.
The ACX Crystal container ship was berthed at Tokyo's Oi wharf, where officials have been questioning crew members about the cause of the crash. It also confirmed that the ship had arrived in Tokyo Bay.
Such collisions between two ships are rare.
Naval historians recall possibly the last time a warship was hit by a larger vessel in peacetime was in 1964 off the coast of Australia's New South Wales.
The ship collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan on Saturday.
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