A Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, collided with a commercial vessel east of Singapore early Monday morning local time, the Navy said.
There were 10 sailors missing and five injured, the Navy said. “Four of the injured were medically evacuated by a Republic of Singapore Navy Puma helicopter to a hospital in Singapore for non-life threatening injuries,” the Navy said in a statement. “The fifth injured Sailor does not require further medical attention.”
The collision with the merchant ship Alnic MC occurred east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time, as the McCain was on its way for a routine port visit in Singapore, the Navy said.
“Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft,” the Navy said, adding that a search and rescue mission was already underway.
The ship arrived at Changi Naval Base following the collision, according to a Navy statement. “Significant damage to the hull resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms,” the Navy said.
The search and rescue effort was being aided by tug boats out of Singapore, as well as the Singapore Navy ship RSS Gallant, Singapore navy helicopters and a Police Coast Guard vessel.
MV-22 Ospreys and SH-60 Seahawks from the USS America are also responding, the Navy said.
Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, tweeted: “Our first priority is determining the safety of the ship and crew. As more information is learned, we will share it.”
Malaysia’s navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin tweeted a photo of the damaged ship on its way to Singapore after the collision, and announced that the country was sending ships and aircraft to assist in the search and rescue.
The John S. McCain, which has a crew of 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 sailors, is based at the 7th Fleet’s homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, according the Navy’s website.