SINGAPORE – Ten American sailors went missing while five were injured after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain rammed into an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore, here on Monday.
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A statement issued by US 7th Fleet said USS John S McCain was involved in a collision with the Alnic MC east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca after which a rescue operation was launched.
The collision with the tanker happened at 5.24am local time as the guided-missile destroyer was heading to Singapore for a routine visit.
Four of the injured were airlifted to a Singapore hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The fifth injured sailor did not require further medical attention.
The ship, which has seen service in the 2003 Iraq war, the Korean peninsula and Japan, is named after the father and grandfather of Arizona senator and former naval pilot John McCain, who were both US Navy admirals. McCain who is undergoing cancer treatment tweeted that he was praying for the crew.
Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight – appreciate the work of search & rescue crews https://t.co/jzk9giXbfg
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 21, 2017
Malaysia’s navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin tweeted that two ships, as well as aircraft from its navy and air force, had also been deployed to help look for the missing US sailors.
— Chief of Navy – PTL (@mykamarul) August 21, 2017
According to the Marine Traffic website, the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC, is a 183-metre long oil tanker with a deadweight of more than 50,000 tonnes.
The vessel was carrying nearly 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil, but there was no oil spill, a crew member said.
‘We are carrying 11,987 tonnes of fuel oil. There is no oil spill. We were carrying fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge to Singapore … We are proceeding to Raffles Reserved Anchorage where the owners will investigate the matter. There was some damage to the valve,’ the crew member said on condition of anonymity.
President Donald Trump reacted to the collision by saying: That’s too bad after which he took to Twitter wishing recovery of missing sailors.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2017
Unfortunately, the accident happened just two months after seven US sailors died when a US destroyer collided with a merchant ship off the Japanese coast.