The US Navy will suspended its operations around the world as it investigates the safety of its warships after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore.
The McCain docked at Singapore’s naval base last Monday with “significant damage” to its hull after an early morning collision with an oil tanker as vessels from several nations search for 10 missing US sailors.
The collision east of Singapore between the guided-missile destroyer and the 183-metre Alnic MC was the second involving a ship from the US Navy’s 7th fleet in the Pacific in two months.
Watch: Video shows the damage caused to the USS John S McCain, which collided with an oil tanker during a routine port visit to Singapore pic.twitter.com/ah3y51soRY
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 21, 2017
The McCain had been heading to Singapore on a routine port visit after conducting a sensitive freedom-of-navigation operation last week by sailing near one of China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea.
The Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement that damage to the McCain’s hull flooded adjacent compartments including crew berths, machinery and communications rooms. A damage control response prevented further flooding, it said.
The destroyer was damaged on its port side aft, or left rear, from the collision but headed to port under its own power.
A photo tweeted by Malaysia’s navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin showed a gaping hole in the McCain’s side near the waterline. Janes, a defence industry publication, estimated the hull rupture was three metres wide.
One of the injured sailors, Operations Specialist 2nd Class Navin Ramdhun, posted a Facebook message telling family and friends he was OK and awaiting surgery for an arm injury.
He told The Associated Press in a message that he couldn’t say what happened: “I was actually sleeping at that time. Not entirely sure.”
The Singapore government said no crew were injured on the Liberian-flagged Alnic, which sustained damage to a compartment at the front of the ship some seven metres above its waterline.
There were no reports of a chemical or oil spill.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2017
Singapore sent tugboats and naval and coast guard vessels to search for the missing sailors and Indonesia said it sent two warships. Malaysia said two ships as well as aircraft from its navy and air force were helping with the search, and the USS America deployed Osprey aircraft and Seahawk helicopters.
There was no immediate explanation for the collision, and the Navy said an investigation would be conducted.
President Donald Trump expressed concern for the crew when he returned to Washington on Sunday night from his New Jersey golf club.
When reporters shouted questions to him about the warship, he responded, “That’s too bad.”
About two hours later, Trump tweeted that “thoughts and prayers” are with the McCain’s sailors as search and rescue efforts continue.