USS John S McCain collides with tanker in Singapore: All you need to know

The USS John S. McCain is seen docked at Changi naval base after its accident on Monday in Singapore. (AP Photo) Related News

Ten US Navy sailors are missing and five injured after the USS John S McCain collided with a oil tanker early Monday morning, east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca. This is the second accident involving a ship from the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, in the Pacific, in two months.

The guided-missile destroyer was on its way to Singapore on a routine port visit when it collided with the 83-meter (600-foot) Alnic MC, an oil and chemical tanker at 5.24 am. Out of the five injured soldiers, four were evacuated by a Singaporean navy helicopter to a hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, while the fifth did not require further medical attention.

The destroyer sustained damage on its port side but headed to the port on its own. The tanker it collided with, sustained damage to a tank at the front above the waterline. However, none of its crew were injured and there are no reports of any oil spill. The tanker is also making its way to Singapore. According to Reuters, the ship was carrying nearly 12,000 tonnes of oil from Taiwan to Singapore.

“Significant damage to the hull resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms. Damage control efforts by the crew halted further flooding,” said a statement issued by the US Navy.

Rescue operations are in full swing with efforts being put in collectively by US military helicopters as well as Singaporean coast guards and Malaysian navies. In a tweet, Malaysia’s navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said that two ships, as well as aircraft from its navy and air force, were helping with the search for the missing sailors. The Navy said Osprey aircraft and Seahawk helicopters from the USS America were assisting in the search.

President Donald Trump, responding to reporters questions about McCain said, “That’s too bad.” Post strong criticism, taking to Twitter, he said, “Thoughts & prayers are w/ our sailors aboard the #USSJohnSMcCain where search & rescue efforts are underway.”

The ship is named after US Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather, who were both US admirals and is based at the 7th Fleet’s homeport of Yokosuka, Japan. It was commissioned in 1994 and has a crew of 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 enlisted sailors, according to the Navy’s website. The warship is 154 meters (505 feet) in length. The Alnic MC is a 183-meter (600-foot) oil and chemical tanker. McCain said on Twitter that he and his wife, Cindy, are “keeping America’s sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight _ appreciate the work of search & rescue crews.”

There was no immediate explanation for the collision, and the Navy said an investigation would be conducted.

(With inputs from agencies)

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