US Navy destroyer USS John McCain collides with large merchant vessel; 10 missing; search and rescue underwayUSS John S. McCain (Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez)
This is a breaking news story and we will provide updates as they become available.
At 6:24am Japan Standard Time the U.S. Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a Liberian merchant vessel Alnic MC east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca on August 21st.
The Navy stated that 10 sailors are missing and five are injured.
The U.S. Navy 7th Fleet put out the following statement:
SOUTH CHINA SEA – The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Aug. 21.
There are currently 10 Sailors missing and five injured.
The collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time, while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore.
The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port.
Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities. In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships RSS Gallant (97), RSS Resilience (82), RSN helicopters and Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark (55) are currently in the area to render assistance.
MV-22s and SH-60s from USS America are also responding.
Alnic MC is a 600-foot oil and chemical tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000.
Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft. The extent of damage and personnel injuries is being determined. The incident will be investigated.
On August 18th three officers of the USS Fitzgerald were relieved of command due to the Fitzgerald colliding with a merchant ship and killing seven sailors.
This is the fourth recent incident involving U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific.
The USS John McCain recently drew China’s ire as the destroyer traveled in international waters near China’s internationally contested man-made islands in the South China Sea.
A family assistance center has been established. Families can call 011-81-46-816-1728 (international) or 243-1728 (DSN on base).
Here are images of the Alnic MC: