US Navy ship collides with oil tanker off Singapore

Ten sailors are missing and five have been injured after a US destroyer collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore, the US Navy says.

The guided missile destroyer USS John S McCain was sailing east of Singapore and preparing to stop in the port when it struck the Liberian-flagged vessel.

A wide-ranging search and rescue operation is under way.

It is the second serious collision involving a US Navy ship in recent months.

The collision was reported before dawn at 05:24 local time on Monday (21:24 GMT on Sunday) and took place in the Strait of Singapore, as the USS John S McCain prepared to perform a routine port stop in Singapore.

Singapore and US authorities said the destroyer sustained damage to her port side, which is the left-hand side of the vessel facing forward.

The chief of the Malaysian navy, Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, has tweeted a picture appearing to show the US vessel with a hole at the rear.

The tanker it collided with, Alnic MC, sustained damage to a tank near the front of the ship 7m (23ft) above the waterline, but none of its crew were injured and there were no oil spills.

The tanker has a tonnage of 30,000 which is about three times that of the USS John S McCain’s, and at 600ft (182m) it is slightly longer than the 505ft-long US destroyer.

What is happening now?

US military helicopters as well as the Singaporean and Malaysian navies and coast guards are currently conducting search and rescue operations.

The US Navy said four of the injured sailors had non-life threatening injuries and were medically evacuated to a Singapore hospital. The fifth person did not require further medical attention.

The ship is now sailing under its own power and heading to Singapore’s Changi naval base. The Alnic MC is making its way to Singapore’s port.

One crew member of the oil tanker told Reuters over the phone that the vessel sustained some damage to a valve. The ship was carrying nearly 12,000 tonnes of oil from Taiwan to Singapore, the news agency reported.

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