Metro Detroit Man Among Sailors Missing At Sea After Navy Warship Collision

Posted August 23, 2017

The Royal Malaysian Navy has found a body in the search and rescue operation for 10 missing USA sailors following the collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker off Johor.

Damage to the portside is visible as the Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) steers towards Changi naval base in Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC.

The US Seventh Fleet said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that divers equipped with surface-supplied air rigs will access sealed compartments located in damaged parts of the ship, which is now docked in Singapore. The bodies of seven USA sailors were found in a flooded berthing area after that collision.

Five U.S. sailors were injured in the accident, although the U.S. Navy said none of those injuries was life-threatening.

Swift said that ship suffered "significant damage" and investigators were seeking to piece together "what happened and how it happened".

Malaysia and Singapore are assisting in the search for the missing US seamen.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Monday that an extensive investigation was underway to "look at all related accidents, incidents at sea".

In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged cargo ship southwest of Japan; seven sailors were killed. In May, the USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing boat while operating off the east coast of the divided peninsula.

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"I visited with the crew today", Swift said. "They are working to confirm and identify those remains".

Richardson said the Navy is in an operational pause in the Pacific that he doesn't envision lasting long.

The collision marks the fourth incident involving a US Navy warship in the Pacific this year.

A string of accidents this year shows the U.S. Navy "is becoming a unsafe obstacle in Asian waters", the official China Daily newspaper said in its online edition. Swift said four had been immediately flown by Singapore navy helicopters to a Singapore hospital, and the fifth was hospitalized when the ship reached Singapore. He says sailors they set up watertight boundaries and shored up the ship's internal structure.

The Kennedy's commanding officer was relieved from his duties following an investigation into the incident.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson announced Monday that Navy operations would be paused around the world and a full safety review ordered.

He said he had heard some reports speculating that the Navy could have been a victim of a cyberattack. "We are not taking any consideration off the table, and every scenario will be reviewed and investigated".

The McCain had been heading for a routine stop in Singapore after carrying out a "freedom of navigation operation" in the disputed South China Sea earlier in August, sparking a furious response from Beijing.