A search and rescue effort is underway for 10 US sailors who are missing after the USS John S McCain and the Alnic MC tanker collided near Singapore.
A statement from the US Navy’s 7th Fleet said the collision occurred at 0624, while the guided-missile destroyer John S McCain was underway east of the Straits of Malacca, on its way to Singapore for a routine port stop.
The 7th Fleet confirmed that damage sustained in the collision with the 50,760 dwt Alnic MC oil and chemical tanker caused flooding in several of the ship’s compartments.
“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. The incident will be investigated,” the US Navy said in a statement.
Following the incident, the US warship sailed into Changi Naval Base in Singapore under its own power, while several vessels took part in search and rescue efforts.
In addition to the 10 missing, five of the US ship’s sailors were reported injured and four were evacuated to hospital by helicopter for what the 7th Fleet’s Twitter feed called non-life-threatening injuries.
The 7th Fleet has set up a dedicated phone line for families seeking information about loved ones at 011 81 46 816 1728.
There were no injuries reported on the 183 m, Liberian-flagged tanker, and AIS data shows that the vessel stopped some 15 km off the east coast of the Pengerang Peninsula in southern Malaysia following the collision. According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, there was some damage to Alnic MC's forepeak tank, above the waterline. Reportedly, Alnic MC was transporting fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge in Singapore and proceeded to Raffles Reserved Anchorage for damage assessment.
This is a second time in three months that a US Navy ship has been in a collision with a commercial vessel in Asian waters. The US Navy removed the two senior officers and a senior enlisted sailor on a US warship last week after US Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with NYK Line chartered container ship ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan in June. That collision killed seven US sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer and nearly sank the ship. The cause of this accident is also under investigation