SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. warship was damaged after colliding with a merchant vessel east of Singapore on Monday, the U.S. Navy said, the second accident involving U.S. Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little more than two months.
The Navy said in a statement the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while “the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore”.
“Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft,” the Navy said. A search-and-rescue mission was under way.
The Navy says 10 sailors are missing and five are injured, the Associated Press reports.
The U.S. Navy said last week it had removed the two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on a U.S. warship that almost sank off the coast of Japan in June after it was struck by a Philippine container ship.
That collision killed seven U.S. sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer the USS Fitzgerald.
The Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged, 183 meter-long oil or chemical tanker of 50,760 deadweight tonnes, according to shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon.
Shipping data showed it last sent a transponder signal at 2258 GMT Sunday and has since come to a halt 10-20 km (6-12 miles) off the east coast of the Pengerang peninsula in Johor, southern Malaysia. The ship data showed it was “ballasting”, meaning that it was not loaded full of oil for cargo.
The U.S. Navy vessel is named for John S. McCain, Sr., and John S. McCain, Jr., both Admirals in the United States Navy.
“Cindy & I are keeping America’s sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight - appreciate the work of search & rescue crews,” their son and grandson, U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, said on Twitter.
Senator McCain is a Vietnam War-era naval aviator who was shot down and held prisoner for five-and-a-half years. He is now undergoing treatment for brain cancer.