10 US Navy sailors are missing after a US Navy guided-missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore early this morning making it the fourth incident/accident in Asia waters involving a US warship in 2017.
The Navy’s 7th Fleet said the USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while the destroyer was making its way to a port visit in Singapore. The collision was reported at 5:24 am local time, as the ship was passing near to the Malacca Strait, one of the world’s most congested shipping routes.
In addition to the 10 missing sailors, the Navy said five were injured in the collision. Search and rescue efforts are under way with helicopters and Marine Corps Osprey aircraft from the amphibious assault ship USS America responding. Singaporean ships and helicopters were also responding, the Navy statement said.
Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center, said the oil tanker would have been at least three times bigger than the USS John McCain. “Oil tankers are huge and it takes miles for them to change course. Malacca Strait is the most congested shipping area in the world. The most narrow point is only 2 nautical miles across. When you’re going into a congested channel, you’re supposed to be very alert, track ships around you to a very meticulous degree” he said.