The USS Fitzgerald and a merchant vessel have collided southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, according to a US Pacific Fleet spokesman. US sailors reportedly called the Japanese coast guard for assistance.

The Japanese Coast Guard identified the commercial ship as a Philippine container vessel, Sputnik news agency reported.

The crash occurred 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka at 2:30am local time, June 17, according to the US Pacific Fleet.

The Japanese public TV channel NHK reported that the USS Fitzgerald,an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, was rendered "unable to operate" and suffered flooding, Reuters reported.

The US Pacific Fleet said that "The extent of damage is being determined. The extent of personnel injuries is being determined. The incident will be investigated."

Seven US Navy sailors are missing and at least three are injured, including the commander of the USS Fitzgerald, which collided with a merchant vessel near Yokosuka, Japan, according to a US Pacific Fleet spokesman. US sailors reportedly called the Japanese Coast Guard for assistance.

"There are seven Sailors unaccounted for; the ship and the Japanese Coast Guard continues to search for them," the US 7th Fleet has confirmed. The same account was previously reported by the Japanese Coast Guard to Japanese public TV channel NHK.

Among the injured was the commanding officer of the USS Fitzgerald, Commander Bryce Benson, who is in stable condition after being transferred to US Naval Hospital Yokosuka, according to the 7th Fleet.