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Sailors missing after US Navy’s John McCain collides with a merchant ship

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) in June 2017. Image: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Shields/Released/Flickr
Five sailors were injured early on Monday, August 21, after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore

Five US Navy sailors were injured early on Monday, August 21, after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore.

In a statement, the Navy said the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer “was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC” while operating east of the Strait of Malacca.

Ten sailors remain missing.

“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 Navy said.

The ship was headed for a routine port visit in Singapore when it struck the 600-foot Liberian oil tanker Alnic MC.

Initial reports indicate the ship suffered significant damage to its port side aft. The Navy said the damage resulted in flooding to the crew berthing, machinery and communications rooms.

US and local authorities are carrying out search and rescue operations for the missing sailors, and the ship sailed for Changi Naval Base under its own power, according to the Navy. The Amphibious assault ship USS America is providing support to the McCain and its personnel.

The incident is the Navy’s second such collision in two months. In June, the USS Fitzgerald struck a Philippine cargo ship, the AXC Crystal, in the Sea of Japan. Seven Navy personnel were killed in the incident. The ship’s commander, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, was relieved of duty last week.

In a video message on Monday, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said he ordered an operational pause be taken in all US Navy fleets and a comprehensive review to find the root causes of the collisions.

Both the McCain and Fitzgerald are in the Navy’s Seventh Fleet is based in Japan its area of operations comprises 50 percent of the world’s population, including China, Russia, India and the Korean Peninsula.

It is the largest of the US Navy’s forward-deployed fleets with between 50-70 ships and submarines, 20,000 sailors and 140 aircraft deployed at any given time.

 

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