THE US Navy said 10 sailors of its are missing after guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Singapore early Monday.
The collision with the oil and chemical tanker Alnic MC, east of the Straits of Malacca, also left five other navy officers injured.
“Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities,” The Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement.
In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, the 7th Fleet said the Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships RSS Gallant, RSS Resilience, RSN helicopters and Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark are currently in the area to provide assistance.
— Chief of Navy – PTL (@mykamarul) August 21, 2017
Trumps response to USS john McCain "that's too bad" #TrumpResign
— Seth Birdoff (@rangersud) August 21, 2017
The US Navy said several Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft and Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS America were also responding to the incident.
The collision reportedly took place at about 6.24 a.m. Japan Standard Time. The ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore.
At the time of this writing, the 7th Fleet said the ship was sailing under its own power and heading to port, the Navy said.
“Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft. The extent of damage and personnel injuries is being determined,” it said.
“The incident will be investigated.”
The collision on Monday is the second accident involving US Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little more than two months.
The US Navy said last week it had removed the two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on a US warship that almost sank off the coast of Japan in June after it was struck by a Philippine container ship.
That collision killed seven US sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer the USS Fitzgerald.
The Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged, 183 metre-long oil or chemical tanker of 50,760 deadweight tonnes, according to shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon.
Shipping data showed it last sent a transponder signal at 2258 GMT Sunday and has since come to a halt 10-20 km (6-12 miles) off the east coast of the Pengerang peninsula in Johor, southern Malaysia. The ship data showed it was “ballasting”, meaning that it was not loaded full of oil for cargo.
— Strategic Sentinel (@StratSentinel) August 20, 2017
The US Navy vessel is named for John S. McCain, Sr., and John S. McCain, Jr., both Admirals in the United States Navy.
“Cindy & I are keeping America’s sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight – appreciate the work of search & rescue crews,” their son and grandson, U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, said on Twitter.
Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight – appreciate the work of search & rescue crews https://t.co/jzk9giXbfg
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 21, 2017
Senator McCain is a Vietnam War-era naval aviator who was shot down and held prisoner for five-and-a-half years. He is now undergoing treatment for brain cancer.
Additional reporting by Reuters