U.S. Navy warship collides with oil tanker near Singapore; 10 sailors missing

By Ray Downs  |  Aug. 20, 2017 at 9:30 PM
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Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The USS John S. McCain, a warship equipped with guided missiles, collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore early Monday morning, the U.S. Navy confirmed.

"Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities," the Navy said in a statement. "In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, the Republic of Singapore Navy ship RSS Gallant (97), RSN helicopters and Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark (55) are currently in the area to render assistance."

The cause of the accident, extent of damage and personal injuries are still being investigated, the Navy added. But 10 sailors have been reported missing and at least five are injured.

The John S. McCain collided with is a 30,000-ton, 600-foot-long oil tanker flying a Liberian flag, reported the Guardian.

The U.S. warship is 505 feet long and displaces about 9,000 tons, according to CNN.

The John S. McCain was traveling through the Strait of Malacca, located between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The area is known for a great deal of traffic and piracy, reported the New York Times.

"It's always crowded, with ships entering Singapore and others passing by," said Shigeru Kojima, adviser of the Japan Captains' Association. "This is one of the top most difficult spots for ships going by."

It is named after both the father and grandfather of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who were former admirals in the Navy. McCain acknowledged the collision on Twitter.

"Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight - appreciate the work of search & rescue crews," he wrote.

The collision marks the second time in two months a U.S. warship has collided with another ship in the Pacific Ocean near the Asian continent. In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship near Japan, killing seven sailors on the ship's crew.

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