The Seventh Fleet USS John S. McCain warship docked at a naval base in Singapore early this morning, having sustained substantial damage to its hull.
Reports indicate the left rear of the guided missile destroyer ship collided with a Liberian-flagged 183-meter Alnic MC oil tanker east of the Strait of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca, as it was preparing for a routine port stop just after 5:00 am local time on Monday (5:00 pm EST on Sunday).
A largescale search and rescue operation is currently underway, as ships from a number of different countries search for ten US sailors who went missing after the crash. Singapore has despatched tugboats and coastguard ships and Indonesia has sent two warships to assist in the search.
A US Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft also joined the group earlier this morning, along with Seahawk helicopters deployed from the USS America stationed near to Malaysia.
In addition to the missing ten, five sailors sustained minor injuries. Four of whom were rescued from the McCain by a Singaporean navy helicopter and taken to a local hospital.
A statement released by the US Navy 7th Fleet said that the oil tanker damaged the hull and flooded machinery, crew berths and communications rooms. However, a “damage control response” prevented the flood from reaching other areas of the ship.
According to the Singapore government, none of the crew on the Alnic MC were injured, but the front compartment was damaged and flooded. There have been no reports of oil spillage from the vessel.
The USS John S. McCain is named after Republican senator John S. McCain Jr. and his father, both were admirals in the United States navy. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer warship is a member of the US Navy Seventh Fleet, capable of employ neutralizing enemy aircraft, ships and submarines using its powerful Aegis radar and guided ballistic missiles.
The McCain has been in service since 1994 with a crew of just over 291 sailors and 47 naval officers. Its current homeport is Yokosuka in Japan, but it regularly makes routine port stops around the South China Sea and Singapore Strait.
Today’s collision is the second involving a Seventh Fleet US Navy ship stationed in the Pacific this year. In June, seven American sailors were killed when the USS Fitzgerald — another Arleigh Burke-class destroyer — crashed into a container ship near to Japan. Several senior officers were subsequently removed from duty.
Mainstream media outlets criticized US President Donald Trump for responding “That’s too bad” when reporters shouted questions at him about the collision. However, he had not yet been briefed on the incident. Shortly afterward the president tweeted his concern for the missing and injured sailors.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2017