A handout photo made available by the United States Navy 7th Fleet shows the damaged hull on the port side of the United States Navy missile destroyer USS John S. McCain while berthed at the Changi Navy Base in Singapore on Monday. (EPA photo)
SINGAPORE — The commander of the US Pacific Fleet says a number of remains of Navy sailors were found in a compartment of the USS John McCain, a day after the warship’s collision with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters left 10 sailors missing.
Adm Scott Swift also said at a news conference in Singapore on Tuesday that Malaysian officials have found one body that has not yet been identified.
WATCH: animation shows how USS McCain and tanker collided near Singapore –
— NBC Nightly News ()
The focus of the search for 10 US sailors missing after a collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters shifted Tuesday to the damaged destroyer’s flooded compartments.
The collision on Monday tore a gaping hole in the McCain’s left rear hull and flooded adjacent compartments including crew berths and machinery and communication rooms. Five sailors were injured.
The USS John S. McCain and the tanker Alnic MC collided early on Monday while the guided-missile destroyer was nearing Singapore for a routine port call. The collision tore a hole in the warship’s port side at the waterline, flooding compartments that included a crew sleeping area.
The collision – the fourth major accident in the US Pacific fleet this year – prompted a fleet-wide investigation and plans for temporary halts in operations to focus on safety.
The US Navy said in a statement late on Monday that aircraft from the amphibious assault ship the USS America, which was in port at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base, would continue searching for the missing sailors.
They join aircraft and vessels from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia already searching in the area.
Damage control efforts on board the USS John S. McCain were focused on draining water from the ship and restoring auxiliary systems, and divers had started assessing the warship’s damaged hull, the statement said.
A public affairs officer for the US Seventh Fleet told Reuters the USS John McCain remained pierside at Changi Naval Base and that a repair plan would be put in place after assessments were complete.
Admiral Scott Swift, who serves as the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, was in Kuala Lumpur on Monday and was scheduled to arrive in Singapore on Tuesday.
Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority said search efforts had continued through the night. Video footage and still pictures showed that a wide hole was ripped in the John S. McCain’s aft port side.
Five sailors were also injured in the accident, although the US Navy said none of those injuries was life-threatening.
On Monday, US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said there were no indications so far the collision was intentional or the result of cyber intrusion or sabotage.
“But review will consider all possibilities,” he said on Twitter.
Adm Richardson said he was asking his fleet commanders worldwide for a one-to-two-day, staggered “operational pause” to discuss action to ensure safe and effective operations. He envisaged this could begin within a week.
He also said a comprehensive review would examine the training of US forces deployed to Japan “to make sure we are doing everything we can to make them ready for operations and warfighting”. The US Seventh Fleet is headquartered in Japan.
This would include looking at “operational tempo, trends in personnel, materiel, maintenance and equipment,” Adm Richardson said.