US navy ship collision off Johor

WASHINGTON, 21 Aug 2017: 

A US warship was damaged after colliding with a merchant vessel east of Singapore today, the US Navy said – the second accident involving US Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little more than two months.

The Navy said in a statement the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while “the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore”.

“Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft,” the Navy said. A search-and-rescue mission was under way.

The US Navy said last week it had removed the two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on a US warship that almost sank off the coast of Japan in June after it was struck by a Philippine container ship.

That collision killed seven US sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer the USS Fitzgerald.

The Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged, 183 metre-long oil or chemical tanker of 50,760 deadweight tonnes, according to shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Shipping data showed it last sent a transponder signal at 2258 GMT Sunday and has since come to a halt 10-20km off the east coast of the Pengerang peninsula in Johor, southern Malaysia. The ship data showed it was “ballasting”, meaning that it was not loaded full of oil for cargo.

The US Navy vessel is named for John S. McCain, Sr, and John S. McCain, Jr, both admirals in the US 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,” their son and grandson, U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, said on Twitter.

Senator McCain is a Vietnam War-era naval aviator who was shot down and held prisoner for five-and-a-half years. He is now undergoing treatment for brain cancer.

The ship was on its way to a routine port visit in Singapore when the accident happened.

Initial reports indicated John S. McCain sustained damage to its port side aft. Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities.

The Singapore harbour authorities can not be reached for comments for the time being.

– Agencies

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