U.S. Warship Collides With Tanker Near Singapore, 10 Sailors Missing

Ten sailors have been missing following a U.S. warship collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore on Monday, the U.S. Navy said, the next accident between U.S. Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little over two months.

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

“Initial reports suggest John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft,” the Navy said. “There are currently 10 sailors missing and five hurt.”

A search-and-rescue assignment was under way between Singaporean ships, helicopters and tug boats, as well as U.S. Navy aircraft.

The warship was currently drifting under its own energy and going to port, the Navy said.

The Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged, 183 meter-long oil or chemical tanker of 50,760 deadweight tonnes, according to transport statistics in Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Shipping data revealed it last sent a transponder signal at 2258 GMT Sunday and has since come to a halt 10-20 km (6-12 miles) from the east coast of the Pengerang peninsula in Johor, southern Malaysia. The boat data revealed it had been “ballasting,” meaning that it wasn’t loaded filled with oil for freight.

The waterways around Singapore are some of the most economical and most important on the planet, carrying about a quarter of the world’s trade in goods and oil.

The U.S. Navy said last week that it had removed both senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor to a U.S. warship that almost dropped off the coast of Japan in June after it had been struck with a Philippine container boat.

That crash murdered seven U.S. sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer the USS Fitzgerald.

The USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain are equally ballistic missile defense (BMD) capable ships and a part of the exact same Japan-based destroyer squadron. The Seventh Fleet has six boats assigned to BMD patrols, with half of these out on patrol at any 1 time.

Asked whether the U.S. Navy would have to bring forward other boats to keep its potency, ” a spokesman for its Seventh Fleet said it had been “way too premature to understand.”

North Korea threatened last week to fire ballistic missiles towards the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, ratcheting up tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump, who had threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang if it threatened the United States.

The U.S. Navy vessel included with the latest collision is named after the father and grandfather of U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, who were both admirals from the United States Navy.

“Cindy & I’m maintaining America’s sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight – value the job of research & rescue teams,” McCain said on Twitter.

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Senator McCain is a Vietnam War-era naval aviator who was shot down and held prisoner for five-and-a-half decades. He’s now undergoing treatment for brain c****r.