10 sailors missing after US destroyer, tanker collide off Singapore

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(BANGKOK) — Rescue teams searched for 10 missing Navy sailors Monday after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore, the New York Times reported.

John S. McCain was passing east of the Strait of Malacca on its way to Singapore at 5:24 a.m. local time, before dawn broke, when it collided with the 600-foot Alnic MC, the Navy said. The destroyer sustained damage to its port side. A photo showed a gaping hole at the waterline, but the ship did not appear to be listing.

In a prepared statement, the Navy said the destroyer had reached Changi Naval Base in Singapore. “Significant damage to the hull resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery and communications rooms,” the statement said. “Damage control efforts by the crew halted further flooding.”

Ten sailors on the ship remained unaccounted for. Five others were injured, none with life-threatening conditions, a Navy official said. Ships with the Singapore navy and helicopters from the assault ship America were searching for survivors.

The collision occurred just two months after another Navy destroyer, USS Fitzgerald, collided with a containership off Japan, killing seven American sailors.

Alnic MC, which has a gross tonnage roughly three times that of John S. McCain, is registered under a Liberian flag and was built in 2008. The tanker, which is now anchored in Singapore for damage assessment, had been struck on the bow section of its hull, but none of its crew were injured, according to a statement from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

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By Professional Mariner Staff