SOUTH CHINA SEA — Ten sailors are missing and five others were injured after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore today, U.S. 7th Fleet officials said.
Four of the injured sailors were medically evacuated by a Singapore Armed Forces helicopter to a hospital in Singapore for non-life-threatening injuries, officials said. The fifth injured sailor does not require further medical attention, they added.
The collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time — 5:24 p.m. EDT Aug. 20 — while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore.
The ship headed under its own power to Changi Naval Base, 7th Fleet officials said, and no fuel or oil was visible on the water’s surface near the ship.
Assistance From Singapore
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 and RSS Resilience, Singaporean navy helicopters and the Singaporean Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark are in the area to render assistance.
An MH-60S helicopter from the amphibious assault ship USS America is in the area providing search and rescue assistance. An additional MH-60S helicopter and MV-22 Osprey are expected to arrive soon, officials said.
Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged 600-foot oil and chemical tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000. Initial reports indicate damage to USS John S. McCain’s port side aft. Damage control efforts continue while the extent of damage is being determined, officials said, and the incident will be investigated.