Damage is seen on the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald off the Shimoda coast, after it collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship, on June 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
A US Navy destroyer that collided with a Philippine container vessel earlier this month leaving seven Americans dead was warned ahead of the collision, according to a new report.  
The USS Fitzgerald guided-missile destroyer collided with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, in the early hours of June 17.
The 10,000-ton guided-missile destroyer and the ACX Crystal, a 29,000-ton container ship collided off Japan's Izu Peninsula. While the container ship sustained little damage, the destroyer suffered severe damage to its starboard side.
An incident report by the ACX Crystal's captain said the Philippine cargo ship flashed lights but the US warship failed to respond or take evasive action, Reuters reported on Monday.
Several American and Japanese investigations are taking place into how the USS Fitzgerald and the container ship collided in clear weather south of Tokyo Bay.
According to a copy of Captain Ronald Advincula's report to Japanese ship owner Dainichi Investment Corporation, the vessel had signaled with flashing lights after the warship "suddenly" steamed on to a course to cross its path.
The vessel attempted to get out of the path of the Fitzgerald, but hit it about 10 minutes later at 1:30 a.m., according to the report.
The US Navy declined to comment on the report.
This picture shows the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald off the Shimoda coast after it collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship on June 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Following the incident, the Navy's 7th Fleet commander said the collision “could have been much worse."
"The crew's response was swift and effective, and I want to point out — as we stand by the ship — how proud I am of them," Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin said.
"Heroic efforts prevented the flooding from catastrophically spreading, which could have caused the ship to founder or sink," Aucoin added. "It could have been much worse."
The seven missing sailors from the USS Fitzgerald were found dead in flooded compartments later, according to a US Navy official.

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