US warship collision: Search continues for 10 missing sailors, says MPA

The damage done to the guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain by the mid-sea collision. (PHOTO: Associated Press)

Search and rescue (SAR) efforts are ongoing for the 10 missing crew members of the US warship that collided with a merchant vessel in Singapore waters on Monday (21 August) morning.

Some 250 personnel across various Singapore agencies – including the navy, air force and coast guard – have been deployed on the scene to help in the search, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in a media statement on Monday night.

The collision between the USS John S McCain guided-missile destroyer and the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC oil tanker took place at 5.30am in the Singapore Strait.

A Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) vessel and a Police Coast Guard (PCG) vessel, which were both on patrol in the vicinity at the time responded to the incident and rendered assistance, while the MPA also sent three tugboats and a team of divers to the scene.

Upon being notified by the US Navy that there were missing and injured crew members, more resources were put into action in the hours that followed. In total, the Singapore Armed Forces deployed one frigate, two patrol vessels, two Super Pumas and one Chinook helicopter, while the PCG deployed two patrol vessels.

As of 6pm, five sorties had been carried out, the statement said, adding that Singapore had also accepted an offer of assistance from the Indonesia authorities, which deployed a helicopter to search the northern coast line of Bintan island, Indonesia.

Four of the injured crew members were transported to Singapore General Hospital by one of the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) Super Puma helicopters. A fifth injured crew member was brought via an ambulance to the same hospital after the USS John S McCain was berthed at Changi Naval Base, where it currently remains as its damage is investigated.

Meanwhile, the Alnic MC vessel is at Singapore’s eastern anchorage for inspections. As of 8.30pm, SAR efforts continues with RSN and PCG vessels still on the hunt for the missing crew members.

“Our thoughts are with the injured and families of the US Navy crew who are currently still missing following the incident in Singapore territorial waters. The Singapore authorities will spare no effort to try to find them, and render all possible assistance to our US friends,” said MPA chief executive Andrew Tan.

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