10 sailors missing after U.S. warship collision; Navy orders 'operational pause'

"Thoughts & prayers are w/ our [U.S. Navy] sailors," President Donald Trump said.
By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Updated Aug. 21, 2017 at 1:46 PM
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Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy said Monday the USS John S. McCain has arrived at Singapore's Changi Naval Base after a collision with a merchant vessel -- which has left 10 sailors missing.

The 505-foot U.S. guided-missile destroyer and the Alnic MC Liberian-flagged oil and chemical tanker collided east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

"Significant damage to the hull resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms. Damage control efforts by the crew halted further flooding," the U.S. Navy said in a statement. "There are currently 10 Sailors missing and five injured. Four of the injured were medically evacuated by a Singapore Armed Forces helicopter to a hospital in Singapore for non-life threatening injuries."

The Singaporean Navy and Police Coast Guard are working with the U.S. military to search for the missing sailors. The American naval fleet has deployed MH-60S helicopters and MV-22 Ospreys from the amphibious assault ship USS America to assist in search and rescue efforts.

Monday, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson announced that the Navy will review all recent incidents in the Pacific -- an "operational pause" across the fleet and an evaluation of training and certification of forces near Japan.

"Our primary concern at this point is the safety of the crew and ship," he said. "I am also directing a comprehensive review into all potential factors contributing to these incidents."

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said a full investigation into the cause of the incident will occur.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our shipmates onboard USS John S. McCain. The Navy family comes together during times of crisis and I want to thank those who are providing around-the-clock assistance to the affected sailors and families," Spencer said in a statement. "As details continue to emerge, we can be proud of the heroic effort by the crew to tend to the needs of those injured and save the ship from further damage while returning safely to port."

"Thoughts & prayers are w/ our [U.S. Navy] sailors aboard the USS John S. McCain where search & rescue efforts are underway," President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday night.

The USS John S. McCain is named after both the father and grandfather of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who were former admirals in the U.S. 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," the senator wrote on Twitter.

The collision marks the second time in two months that 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.

Ray Downs contributed to this report.

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