The U.S. Navy announced the end of its search for missing crew Sunday after finding a number of bodies aboard the U.S. destroyer Fitzgerald following its collision with a Filipino container ship south of Tokyo Bay.
The bodies of several sailors were found on the ship that was heavily damaged in the collision early Saturday that left seven crew members of the destroyer missing and three injured, it said.
Some U.S. media reported that the bodies of all seven missing crew members had been found. The destroyer sustained significant damage to its starboard side near the bridge.
The Japan Coast Guard ended its search around the collision site about 20 kilometers southeast of Cape Irozaki in Shizuoka Prefecture after being told by the U.S. Navy that no crew members were missing at sea.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered his condolences to U.S. President Donald Trump in a statement saying, "I am filled with great sorrow."
"Under the strong Japan-U.S. alliance, I renew my respect for those who are associated with U.S. forces who are making significant contributions to bring peace and stability to our nation and the region," Abe said.
The U.S. Navy said on its official website that search and rescue personnel "gained access to the spaces that were damaged during the collision" and the missing sailors were "located in the flooded berthing compartments."
Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, said the U.S. Navy was not revealing the number of bodies found as it had not informed the sailors' next of kin.
The 8,315-ton Aegis missile defense system-equipped Fitzgerald collided with the 29,060-ton ACX Crystal, operated by Japanese shipping firm Nippon Yusen K.K.
The Fitzgerald, part of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, was on a patrol mission and returned to the Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture aided by tugboats Saturday night.
The Filipino vessel carrying 1,080 containers and sailing from Nagoya sustained damage on its port side but safely docked at its destination port in Tokyo on Saturday.
The Japan Coast Guard was continuing its questioning of the crew, with an eye on possible endangerment of traffic caused by professional negligence.
Regarding the Fitzgerald, the United States has primary jurisdiction over incidents involving members of U.S. forces under the bilateral status of forces agreement.
Aucoin said the U.S. Navy will cooperate with the Japanese investigative authorities if necessary.
According to Japanese investigative sources, crew on the Filipino ship said it collided with the destroyer while sailing in the same direction, indicating that the container vessel could have collided from the starboard rear side of the U.S. Navy ship.