US destroyer USS John S. McCain collides with merchant ship near Strait of Malacca

US Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) collided with a merchant ship while underway east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca on August 21.

According to the US Navy, ten sailors are missing and five are injured after the guided-missile destroyer collided with oil tanker Alnic MC.

Four of the injured were medically evacuated by a Republic of Singapore Navy Puma helicopter to a hospital in Singapore for non-life threatening injuries. The fifth injured sailor does not require further medical attention, the navy said.

Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities. In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, RSN Fearless-class patrol ships RSS Gallant (97), RSS Resilience (82), RSN helicopters and Singaporean Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark (55) are currently in the area to render assistance.

An MH-60S helicopter from the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) are in the area providing search and rescue assistance. An additional MH-60S helicopter and MV-22 Osprey are expected to arrive soon.

The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to Changi Naval Base. At this point, no fuel or oil is visible on the water’s surface near the ship.

Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft. Damage control efforts continue while the extent of damage is being determined. The incident will be investigated.

The incident comes just two months after seven US Navy sailors lost their lives in a June 17 collision between destroyer USS Fitzgerald and MV ACX Crystal off Japan.

Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged 600-foot oil and chemical tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000.


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