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October 28, 2009

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Warship collides with vessel

A JAPANESE navy destroyer has collided with a commercial vessel off southern Japan, starting fires on both ships and injuring three crew members, defense officials said yesterday.

The destroyer JS Kurama collided with the South Korean container ship Carina Star last night in the Kanmon Strait near the southern main island of Kyushu, a defense ministry spokesman said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.

One Kurama crew member was slightly injured while two other sailors were sickened by inhaling smoke, the official said.

The fire on the 7,400-ton container ship was extinguished shortly after the collision. The navy destroyer was still on fire late yesterday, he said.

Public broadcaster NHK said none of the South Korean ship's crew members were injured. The defense official said the Japanese ship's bow was badly damaged but was still capable of traveling on its own.

TV footage showed orange flames rising from the vessels in the dark.

The collision site is about 850 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, between Kyusu and the western end of the Honshu main island.

The Kurama, carrying 360 sailors, was on its way to its home port of Sasebo on Kyushu after serving as the flagship for the country's triennial fleet review on Sunday at the port of Yokosuka.


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