Ten U.S. Navy sailors are still missing and five others were injured after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with Liberian merchant ship Alnic MC east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca on Sunday, local time.
This is U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer’s statement:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our shipmates onboard USS John S. McCain. The Navy family comes together during times of crisis and I want to thank those who are providing around-the-clock assistance to the affected Sailors and families.
As details continue to emerge, we can be proud of the heroic effort by the crew to tend to the needs of those injured and save the ship from further damage while returning safely to port.
I also want to express my appreciation to the government of Singapore for their swift support and assistance during this time of need.
The United States Navy will fully investigate the cause of this incident and I ask all of you to keep the families of John S. McCain in your thoughts and prayers as we begin the task of answering the many questions before us.”
The USS John S. McCain made its way back to Changi Naval Base in Singapore on its own power, despite a large hole in its port side. No fuel or oil was visible on the water’s surface near the ship, 7th Fleet officials reported.
Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities, officials reported.
This incident comes just days after the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet announced it was relieving top officers of the USS Fitzgerald following a June 17 deadly crash that killed seven sailors.
The commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief of the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald were relieved of their duties.
The ACX Crystal, a large Philippine-flagged merchant ship, ran into the USS Fitzgerald off the coast of Japan in June, and seven sailors died. It had been reported that the freighter was on autopilot at the time of the collision, but also that the freighter sent warning signals, and that the USS Fitzgerald might have failed to respond to communications.