Ten sailors missing after US warship collides with tanker off Singapore

Ten American sailors are missing and five injured after a guided-missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore

21 August 2017, 7:58am
The guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain is seen after a collision, off Johor, Malaysia
The guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain is seen after a collision, off Johor, Malaysia
Ten sailors are missing after a US warship collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore on Monday, the US Navy said, the second accident involving US Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little more than two months.

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC before dawn while heading to Singapore for a routine port call, the Navy said in a statement.

"Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft," the Navy said. "There are currently 10 sailors missing and five injured."

Singaporean, Malaysian and US search and rescue teams, consisting of patrol ships, helicopters and tug boats, were deployed to the area to look for the missing crew.

Four of the injured were evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Singapore with non-life threatening injuries, while the fifth needed no further treatment, the Navy said.

Malaysian authorities said the collision happened in Malaysian waters in the South China Sea and that they were assisting in the search-and-rescue operation. Images released by Malaysia's navy showed the USS John S McCain with a large dent around the waterline.

The warship was currently sailing under its own power towards Singapore's Changi Naval Base and there was no sign of fuel or oil visible near the ship, the Navy said.

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.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said no injuries were reported on the Alnic, which suffered some damage to its forepeak tank well above the waterline.

The incident is the second collision involving a ship from the US navy’s 7th fleet in the Pacific in two months. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship hit each other in waters off Japan.