A U.S. guided-missile destroyer collided with a 30,000 ton tanker vessel east of Singapore on Monday, leaving 10 sailors missing and five injured Monday morning, the navy’s Seventh Fleet said in a statement.
The USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC in the Strait of Malacca east of Singapore and around 6:24 a.m., the statement said.
Initial reports indicated that the McCain had sustained damage near the rear on its port, or left-hand, side. “The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port,” the 7th Fleet said.
Search and rescue efforts were underway in coordination with local authorities, it said, adding that Singapore Navy ships and helicopters, a coast guard vessel and tug boats were in the area to assist.
“MV-22s (Ospreys) and SH-60s (Helicopters) from USS America are also responding,” the statement said adding that a full fledged search and rescue operation involving US and Singaporean navies is underway.
The ship had been transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore. “Our first priority is determining the safety of the ship and crew,” Adm. John Richardson, the U.S. Navy’s chief of naval operations, said in a Twitter post.”
The merchant ship involved in the crash is a Liberian-flagged tanker used for transporting oil and chemicals and weighing over 30,000 tons, according to industry website Marine Traffic.
This incident comes two months after another US Navy Ship, the USS Fitzgerald’s collision with a Philippine-flagged containership off the coast of Japan. Seven U.S. sailors were killed in the incident and just last week the navy relieved form duty the Fitzgerald’s top three commanders following an enquiry.
On Aug. 5, a U.S. MV-22 Osprey crashed off the coast of Australia, killing three marines. Earlier in the month, a sailor aboard the USS Stethem guided-missile destroyer also went missing. A MV-22 had crashed in the sea off Japan in an earlier incident.