USS John S McCain collides with merchant ship east of Singapore; 10 missing, 5 injured

Channel NewsAsia 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: Ten sailors are missing and five are injured after a US destroyer was involved in a collision with a merchant ship east of Singapore on Monday (Aug 21), the US Navy said in a statement.

"The guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain (DDG 56) was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while under way east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca on Aug 21," the statement from the US 7th Fleet Public Affairs said.

"The collision was reported at 6.24am Japan Standard Time, 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 extent of damage and personnel injuries is being determined. The incident will be investigated," the statement added.

Search and rescue efforts are under way in coordination with local authorities: "In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, the Republic of Singapore Navy ship RSS Gallant (97), RSN helicopters and Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark (55) are currently in the area to render assistance.

MV-22s and SH-60s from USS America are also responding," the statement added.

"The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port," the US Navy said in an update.

The merchant vessel Alnic MC is described as a 180-metre long Liberian flagged oil and chemical tanker on the MarineTraffic website. It has a deadweight of more than 50,000 tonnes.

Malaysia has also sent a a ship to render assistance. It's navy chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin told Channel NewsAsia that the KD Handalan has been deployed.

The McCain is the second US guided-missile destroyer to be involved in a collision in two months. In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippines container ship off the coast of Japan, killing seven navy sailors. The two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on the Fitzgerald were removed after the incident.


Singapore navy and police coast guard aiding US warship involved in collision
Today Online 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE — A search and rescue operation is underway near the Singapore Strait after a US warship collided with a merchant vessel near the Singapore Strait on Monday (Aug 21).

10 sailors from the US Navy are missing, while five are injured, after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain collided with the oil and chemical tanker Alnic MC at 5.24am Singapore time, the US 7th Fleet Public Affairs said in a statement.

The warship sustained damage to the left side of its hull, towards the rear.

Two Singapore Navy warships have been deployed to aid the USS John S McCain, which was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore when the collision happened.

Besides the Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol vessel RSS Gallant and RSS Resilience, RSN helicopters, the Singapore Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark, and tugboats are assisting the US warship.

The US Navy has also sent its V-22 Osprey aircraft and Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from the amphibious assault ship USS America to render assistance.

According to a marine traffic website, the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC was heading towards Singapore from Taiwan when the collision happened. At 6.58am, the merchant ship appeared to be at underway at the mouth of the South China Sea, sailing westwards towards Singapore.

"Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities," the US Navy said. It gave no further details on potential casualties, noting that the extent of damage and personnel injuries is still being determined.

"The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port," the US Navy added.

Measuring 154m long, the 9,000-tonne USS John S McCain is smaller than the 183m-long, 30,040-tonne Alnic MC.

The USS John S McCain is based in Yokosuka, Japan. According to a 19 Aug Facebook post, the warship was last on patrol in the South China Sea in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.


Ten sailors missing, five injured after US destroyer USS John S McCain collides with merchant vessel near Singapore
Chris Graham The Telegraph 21 Aug 17;

Ten US sailors were missing after a US destroyer collided with a merchant vessel in southeast Asia, the second serious accident involving American Navy ships in the region in little more than two months.

Search and rescue efforts were launched after the USS John S McCain was involved in a collision with the Alnic MC east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement.

The accident happened at 5.24am local time as the guided-missile destroyer was heading to Singapore for a routine visit.

"There are currently 10 Sailors missing and five injured," the Japan-based 7th Fleet said.

Local authorities were coordinating with the US Navy to conduct search and rescue efforts after the warship suffered damage the port side aft, it said.


Location of the ship, the Alnic MC, just over an hour after it the collission CREDIT: MARINETRAFFIC

"The extent of damage and personnel injuries is being determined," it said, adding that the incident was being investigated.

The destroyer was currently sailing under its own power and heading to port.

Senator John McCain tweeted: "Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight - appreciate the work of search & rescue crews."

The vessel was named in honour of the senator's grandfather and father, who were US admirals.

Based at the fleet's homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, the USS John S McCain has a crew of 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 enlisted sailors, according the Navy's website.

The ship it hit, the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC, is a 183 metre long chemical or oil tanker with a deadweight of more than 50,000 tonnes, according to the Marine Traffic website.

Shipping data showed it last sent a transponder signal at 2258 GMT on Sunday and has since come to a halt 6-12 miles 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 accident comes two months after seven US sailors died when a US destroyer collided with a merchant ship off the Japanese coast.

The Fitzgerald's captain was relieved of command and other sailors would be punished after the Navy found poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch contributed to the collision, the Navy announced last week.

An investigation into how and why the Fitzgerald collided with the other ship was not finished, but enough details were known to take those actions, the Navy said.


U.S. warship collides with merchant vessel east of Singapore
Reuters 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. warship was damaged after colliding with a merchant vessel east of Singapore on Monday, the U.S. Navy said, the second accident involving U.S. 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 U.S. Navy said last week it had removed the two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on a U.S. warship that almost sank off the coast of Japan in June after it was struck by a Philippine container ship.

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

A map shows the location where the Alnic MC merchant vessel came to a halt after a collision with the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain east of Singapore August 21, 2017. REUTERS
The Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged, 183 meter-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 10-20 km (6-12 miles) 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.

FILE PHOTO - The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain sails in formation during exercise Foal Eagle 2013 in waters west of the Korean peninsula in this March 21, 2013 handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes/Handout/File Photo
The U.S. Navy vessel is named for John S. McCain, Sr., and John S. McCain, Jr., 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," 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.

(This version of the story corrects detail on who the USS John S. McCain was named for, paragraphs 8-10)

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton in WASHINGTON and Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Peter Cooney and Paul Tait


US destroyer collision: Four injured taken to Singapore; no oil spill detected
Straits Times 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE - Singapore is leading search and rescue operations for 10 missing sailors thrown overboard after a United States warship and a merchant vessel carrying nearly 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil crashed east of the Republic on Monday (Aug 21) morning.

Four of five injured personnel have been flown to Singapore.

There were no reports of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait was unaffected, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore in a statement.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post on Monday that four of the injured sailors had been transferred to the Singapore General Hospital.

“I hope their colleagues will be found. My thoughts are with their families,” he said.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam said on Facebook that he was saddened by the news.

“I wish those injured a speedy recovery,” he said.

“Search and rescue operations are still underway for 10 missing sailors. I hope they will be found soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.”

The collision happened just before 5.30am, between US guided-missile destroyer USS John McCain and Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC, in Singapore territorial waters in the Singapore Strait.

Earlier this morning, a Republic of Singapore Air Force Super Puma helicopter transported casualties from the ship to SGH.

According to the US 7th Fleet, four of the injured were medically evacuated to Singapore for non-life threatening injuries. The fifth injured sailor did not need further medical attention.

Close-up of the USS John S McCain near Changi Naval Base

USS John McCain was damaged in its port side and requested for tug assistance, said MPA.

Alnic MC sustained damage to its fore peak tank 7m above the waterline. No crew members were injured.

Search efforts are being carried out north of Pedra Branca.

On the sidelines of the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee meeting on Monday, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen expressed his condolences to those injured or missing from the incident.

“Our agencies were activated and taking the lead in search and rescue missions, as well as assisting the disabled USS McCain,,” he said.

“Let me express our deep condolences to those who are injured or missing from this incident, but we stand ready to assist both the USS McCain and the servicemen,” said Dr Ng.

In a Facebook post, he said the SAF has been mobilised as part of a multi-agency search and rescue effort, led by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a Facebook post on Monday evening that search and rescue operations for the missing sailors of the USS John S McCain was ongoing, and that "we will not spare any effort".

He described the effort as a heart wrenching exercise, adding that "we hope for good news as we continue the search tonight".

The Singapore Armed Forces has deployed two Patrol Vessels, RSS Gallant and RSS Resilience; one Frigate, RSS Intrepid; two Super Pumas and one Chinook helicopter to assist in the search for 10 missing sailors.

MPA has also sent three tugboats to assist.

The Singapore Police Coast Guard (PCG) has deployed four vessels.

In addition, US aircraft MV-22s and SH-60s from USS America have been deployed. Malaysia has sent vessels to help with the search and rescue, its Navy chief said in a Twitter post.

Both vessels are currently on their way to Singapore to assess their damage.

The Republic of Singapore Navy's RSS Resilience is escorting the USS John McCain back to Changi Naval Base, Mr Ng said.


The US Navy ship was making its way to Singapore for a routine visit. Its home port is Yokosuka in Japan.

Alnic MC has been listed on marine websites as a 30,040-tonne, 183m-long Liberian-flagged oil tanker. Owned by Greece's Stealth Maritime, it was en route to Singapore from Pyeongtaek in South Korea.

The US Navy said the extent of damage to USS John S McCain is being determined, and the incident will be investigated. It has set up an emergency family assistance centre for family members of the ship's personnel.

MPA is also investigating the incident.


Oil tanker that collided with US warship laden with fuel oil, but no spills
Today Online 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE — The oil tanker involved in a collision with a US warship to the east of Singapore early on Monday (Aug 21) was carrying nearly 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil, but there was no oil spill, a crew member told Reuters via phone.

“We are carrying 11,987 tonnes of fuel oil. There is no oil spill. We were carrying fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge to Singapore ... We are proceeding to Raffles Reserved Anchorage where the owners will investigate the matter. There was some damage to the valve,” the crew member of the Alnic MC, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters via telephone.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) lists the Raffles Reserved Anchorage to the South of Bukom Island to be reserved for “vessels requiring emergency repairs and damaged vessels or as directed by the Port Master”.

None of the tanker's crew were injured, according to a statement from the MPA, which said the Alnic "sustained damage to her Fore Peak Tank 7m above the waterline".

Ten sailors from the US Navy are missing, while five are injured, the US 7th Fleet Public Affairs said in a statement.

According to a marine traffic website, the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC was heading towards Singapore from Taiwan when the collision happened. The merchant ship appeared to be at underway at the mouth of the South China Sea, sailing westwards towards Singapore.

"There is no report of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait is unaffected," MPA said.

AGENCIES


No oil pollution reported after U.S. warship, tanker collide off Singapore
Reuters 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - No oil spill was reported after a collision between a U.S. guided-missile destroyer and a merchant vessel in Singapore waters, authorities in the city-state said on Monday.

Ten sailors from the USS John S. McCain were missing after the collision with the oil tanker east of Singapore, the U.S. Navy said, the second accident involving U.S. Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little more than two months.

"USS JOHN MCCAIN sustained damage to her port side and requested for tug assistance. ALNIC MC sustained damage to her Fore Peak Tank 7m above the waterline, with no crew injuries," the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a statement.

"There is no report of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait is unaffected. MPA is investigating the incident," it added.

Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Kim Coghill


Oil tanker hit by USS John S McCain laden with fuel oil; no spill
Channel NewsAsia 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: An oil tanker involved in a collision with the USS John S McCain to the east of Singapore early on Monday (Aug 21) was carrying almost 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil, but there was no oil spill, a crew member told Reuters via phone.

"We are carrying 11,987 tonnes of fuel oil. There is no oil spill. We were carrying fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge to Singapore ... We are proceeding to Raffles Reserved Anchorage where the owners will investigate the matter. There was some damage to the valve," the crew member of the Alnic MC who did not want to be identified told Reuters via telephone.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) lists the Raffles Reserved Anchorage to the South of Bukom Island to be reserved for "vessels requiring emergency repairs and damaged vessels or as directed by the Port Master".

Ten sailors are missing and five are injured from the USS John S McCain after the collision at 5.24am Singapore time, while the US guided-missile destroyer was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore, according to a statement by the US Navy.

The MPA said it was leading search and rescue operations for the collision that took place in Singapore territorial waters.

Both Singapore and Malaysian authorities have sent ships and aircraft to assist the US Navy in the search and rescue mission.

The Alnic MC sustained damage to her fore peak tank 7m above the waterline, with no crew injuries, and both ships were on their way to Singapore for damage assessment, the MPA said in a statement.

"There is no report of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait is unaffected. MPA is investigating the incident," the authority said.

The merchant vessel Alnic MC is described as a 180m long Liberian flagged oil and chemical tanker on the MarineTraffic website. It has a deadweight of more than 50,000 tonnes.

According to VesselsValue, which provides shipping and maritime data, the Alnic MC was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 11am Monday.

The vessel's position at 6.58am Singapore time was at latitude 1.42018 and longitude 104.4326, according to VesselsValue.


It added that the vessel is owned by a Greek company Brave Maritime Corporation and is reportedly worth US$17.36 million (S$23.6 million).

Source: Reuters/CNA/mz


USS John S McCain collision: Singapore will spare no effort to find missing crew members, says MPA
Channel NewsAsia 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: Search and rescue efforts will continue through the night for the 10 US Navy crew members missing after the USS John S McCain an oil tanker collided in Singapore territorial waters, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a statement on Monday evening (Aug 21).

"The Singapore authorities will spare no effort to try to find them, and render all possible assistance to our US friends," Mr Andrew Tan, chief executive of MPA said.

"Our thoughts are with the injured and families of the US Navy crew who are currently still missing following the incident in Singapore territorial waters."

Republic of Singapore Navy and Singapore Police Coast Guard vessels have been deployed for the overnight search, MPA said.

About 250 personnel from various agencies have been deployed for the Singapore-led search and rescue operations, MPA said.

Detailing its efforts so far, MPA said it was notified of the collision at about 5.30am on Monday. The RSS Gallant as well as a Police Coast Guard vessel were nearby on patrol when the incident happened, and rendered assistance.

At 6.45am, MPA activated three tugboats and a team of divers and sent them to the scene.

After being notified by the US Navy that there were missing and injured crew members, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) immediately sent its first Super Puma helicopter to the scene at about 7.40am.

MPA deployed its command vessel at 8am, and the RSS Resilience, as well as another coast guard patrol vessel arrived on the scene at about 9am.

A frigate, the RSS Intrepid, as well as another Super Puma and a Chinook helicopter were also deployed subsequently, MPA said.

In total, the Singapore Armed Forces deployed a frigate, two patrol vessels, two Super Pumas and a Chinook helicopter, and the Police Coast Guard sent two patrol vessels.

As of 6pm, five sorties have been carried out over the area, MPA said.

The agency added that it has been issuing hourly navigational broadcasts to advise passing vessels of the incident, asking them to keep a lookout for any people in the water.

In a Facebook post on Monday evening, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote: "Every SAR (search and rescue) is a heart-wrenching exercise," he wrote. "We hope for good news as we continue the search tonight."

SINGAPORE ACCEPTS ASSISTANCE FROM INDONESIAN AUTHORITIES

MPA added that Singapore has accepted an offer of assistance from Indonesian authorities in search and rescue efforts. Indonesia has deployed a helicopter to search the northern coast line of Bintan island, it said.

The US has also deployed its own assets to take part in ongoing search and rescue efforts, MPA said.

Following the collision, the USS America arrived at Changi Naval Base with US Navy MH-60S helicopters and MV-22 Ospreys to support search operations.

The USS John S McCain is currently berthed at Changi Naval Base and the oil tanker, the Alnic MC is now at Singapore's eastern anchorage for inspections, MPA said.

MPA is investigating the incident, it added.

Source: CNA/dl

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