Search underway for 10 missing navy sailors as US warship collides with merchant vessel near Singapore Strait

US guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain collided with a merchant vessel near the Singapore Strait today, according to a statement updated at 12.10pm Japan Standard Time (JST) released by US 7th Fleet Public Affairs from its Yokosuka headquarters in Japan.

Ariel close-up map of Singapore Strait released by Royal Malaysian Navy, indicating the site of collision between American guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain DDG 56 and Liberian merchant vessel Alnic MC early morning on 21 August (Photo: Royal Malaysian Navy)
Ariel close-up map of Singapore Strait released by Royal Malaysian Navy, indicating the site of collision between American guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain DDG 56 and Liberian merchant vessel Alnic MC early morning on August 21. Photo Courtesy: Royal Malaysian Navy)

The warship USS John S McCain (DDG 56) was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore in South China Sea.

"There are currently 10 sailors missing and five injured. Four of the injured were medically evacuated by a Republic of Singapore Navy Puma helicopter to a hospital in Singapore for non-life threatening injuries. The fifth injured Sailor does not require further medical attention. The collision was reported at 6:24 am Japan Standard Time, while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore," it said.

The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to Changi Naval Base. At this point, no fuel or oil is visible on the water’s surface near the ship. Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities. 

Two Singapore Navy warships have been deployed to assist the USS John S McCain, which was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore when the collision happened. The Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol vessel RSS Gallant and RSS Resilience, RSN helicopters, the Singapore Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark, and tugboats are also aiding the US warship.

Official U.S. Navy file photo of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain DDG 56. Photo courtesy: US Navy
Official U.S. Navy file photo of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain DDG 56. Photo courtesy: US Navy

The US Navy has also sent its V-22 Osprey aircraft and Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from the amphibious assault ship USS America to assist the warship.

The warship sustained damage to the left side of its hull, towards the rear, according to a report by Todayonline. After the collision, it sailed under its own power, heading to the port. 

The USS John S McCain is based in Yokosuka, Japan. The warship was last on patrol in the South China Sea in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, according to a Facebook post on August 19. 

 

Author
Kareyst Lin
Kareyst Lin – Senior Writer

Kareyst has experience in writing about B2B technology for Computerworld Singapore, MIS Asia and CIO Asia; and on government technology for GCIO Asia. Her pet areas are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities - these are fueled by her obsession with sci-fi movies and philosophy of mind. 

Sometimes she writes with light. 

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