Ten sailors missing after U.S. warship collides with tanker near Singapore

 

SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Ten sailors are missing after a U.S. warship collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore yesterday, the U.S. Navy said, the second accident involving U.S. Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little more than two months.

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while heading to Singapore for a routine port call, the Navy said in a statement.

“Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft,” the Navy said. “There are currently 10 sailors missing and five injured.”

A search-and-rescue mission was under way involving Singaporean ships, helicopters and tug boats, as well as U.S. Navy aircraft. Malaysian authorities said the collision happened in Malaysian waters in the South China Sea and that they were assisting in the search-and-rescue operation.

The warship was currently sailing under its own power and heading to port, the Navy said, without specifying which port.

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 had since come to a halt 10-20 km (6-12 miles) off the east coast of the Pengerang peninsula in Johor, southern Malaysia.

An Alnic crew member contacted later by Reuters by telephone said there was no oil spill from the tanker, which was carrying almost 12,00 tonnes of fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge in Singapore.

“We have not discharged the tanker yet,” said the crew member, who asked not to be identified.

“We are proceeding to Raffles Reserved Anchorage, where the owners will investigate the matter. There was some damage to the valve but no oil spill.”

The waterways around Singapore are some of the busiest and most important in the world, carrying around a third of global shipping trade.

The collision is the second involving a U.S. guided missile destroyer in the Pacific in nine weeks.

The U.S. Navy said last week it had removed the two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on the USS Fitzgerald, which almost sank off the coast of Japan after it was struck by a Philippine container ship early on June 17.

That collision killed seven U.S. sailors.

The USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain are both ballistic missile defence (BMD) capable ships and part of the same Japan-based destroyer squadron. The Seventh Fleet has six ships assigned to BMD patrols, with half of those out on patrol at any one time.

Asked whether the U.S. Navy would need to bring forward other ships to maintain its strength, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet said it was “way too early to know”.

The series of maritime mishaps in Asian waters comes at a tense time in the region. North Korea threatened last week to fire ballistic missiles towards the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, ratcheting up tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump, who had threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang if it threatened the United States.

The U.S. Navy vessel involved in the latest collision is named for the father and grandfather of U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, who were both admirals in the United States 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,” McCain said on Twitter.

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

 

 

Comments  

Petrotrin paid for ‘fake oil’

(Trinidad Guardian) It is now official. Two external audits have confirmed that there was a discrepancy between reported oil production in the Exploration and Production Operations in the Catshill Field operated by A&V Oil and Gas and the actual production receipts at Pointe-a-Pierre discovered by Petrotrin’s Internal Audit Department in the period January to June 2017.

Zimbabwe’s ruling party set to sack Mugabe, sources say

HARARE (Reuters) – The leaders of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party will meet today to approve the dismissal of President Robert Mugabe, the only leader the southern African nation has known since independence 37 years ago, two party sources have said.

Gerry Adams to step down in end of an era for Irish nationalism

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams, a pivotal figure in the political life of Ireland for almost 50 years, said on Saturday he will step down as party leader and complete a generational shift in the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

US nuclear general says would resist ‘illegal’ Trump strike order

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top US nuclear commander said on Saturday that he would resist President Donald Trump if he ordered an “illegal” launch of nuclear weapons.

Despite US lagging, climate action gathers speed, if limited cash

BONN, Germany (Thomson Reuters Fou-ndation) – UN climate negotiations in Bonn, aimed at laying the groundwork for faster action to curb climate change and deal with its impacts, ended in the early hours of Saturday morning with solid progress on key issues, including preparations for ramping up carbon cuts.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×