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10 US Sailors MISSING after serious collision in Southeast Asian waters

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By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
8/21/2017 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

The USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided

Ten United States sailors are missing in the Southeast Asian waters after their ship, the USS John S. McCain, was involved in a collision with a Greek-owned, Liberian-flagged oil tanker, Alnic MC, in the early hours of Monday, August 21.

The USS John S. McCain suffers significant damage after a collision with a Liberian-flagged oil tanker.

The USS John S. McCain suffers significant damage after a collision with a Liberian-flagged oil tanker.

Highlights

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.S. destroyer was traveling the waters on its way to a routine port visit in Singapore following a "sensitive freedom of navigation operation" near one of China's man-made islands in the South China Sea, according to the Associated Press.

The McCain was reportedly hit in its port side aft or left rear. A hole, estimated to be about 10 feet wide, was torn in the ship just under the water line, leading to significant damage to the hull. Crew sleeping areas, machinery, and communication rooms were all flooded.

USS John S McCain collision

The US destroyer was hit on its port side aft or left rear.


Five other sailors were injured in the collision. Four of them were airlifted to a hospital for "non-life-threatening" injuries by a Singaporean navy helicopter, and the fifth did not require any further medical assistance.


A multinational search and rescue, involving Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the US, was executed in efforts to locate the missing sailors.

"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," a release from the Navy said, according to the Daily Mail. "MV-22s and SH-60s from USS America are also responding."

USS John S McCain collision


The McCain has become the second collision involving a ship from the Navy's 7th Fleet in the Pacific in two months.

The USS Fitzgerald and a container ship hit in waters off of Japan in June; seven sailors died from that collision.

The Navy determined "poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch" were the cause of that accident, and Fitzgerald's captain and other sailors would face punishment.

According to the Daily Mail, analysists believe the accident may raise questions over whether the US Navy has overstretched in Asia during its mission to "combat Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea and North Korea's nuclear ambitions."

USS John S. McCain collision with oil tanker

Alnic MC, the oil tanker, collided with a US destroyer. There were no visible oil or gas leak following the collision.


Speculation over the internet insists the US destroyer was not at fault in this morning's collision because the damage accumulated was at the rear of the ship. Some conspiracy theorists claim a possible hacking of the ships' GPS systems could be at fault in the recent collisions.

However, there have been no official details confirming the collision's cause, but the Navy assured an investigation would be conducted.


"Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight - appreciate the work of search & rescue crews," tweeted Arizona Senator, John McCain after hearing news of the missing sailors. The destroyer is named after John S. McCain, Sr. and John S. McCain, Jr. - both Admirals in the US Navy.

After the hit, the McCain was able to sail to the Changi Naval Base in Singapore under its own power.

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