Navy: Bodies found on USS McCain that collided with tanker
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Bodies have been found in flooded compartments on the USS John S. McCain, the Navy destroyer that collided with a commercial vessel east of Singapore early Monday morning, according to the U.S. Navy.
Ten sailors have been missing since the collision.
Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, held a press conference today at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base today where the USS McCain is docked and where the tanker with which it collided is anchored.
“The divers were able to locate some remains” in sealed compartments on ship, Swift said, adding that bodies have been found.
The Navy destroyer had been heading to Singapore on a routine port visit after conducting a sensitive freedom-of-navigation operation near one of China’s manmade islands in the South China Sea, according to the Navy.
The destroyer collided with a tanker vessel, the Alnic MC, off the coast of Singapore around 5:20 a.m. local time Monday morning, Stealth Maritime Corporation said in a statement.
Reports of the damage from the two ships seemed to indicate that they were crossing paths, or at least attempting to move in different directions, at the time the collision occurred.
The McCain’s hull received significant damage as a result of the accident, according to the Navy, which can be seen in photos that show what looks like a wide cave along the side of the ship, where the collision took place.
Following the collision, adjacent compartments on the McCain, including crew berths, machinery and communications rooms, flooded, according to the Navy, who added that a damage-control response prevented the situation from becoming more serious.
Ships from multiple countries went searching for the missing sailors following the collision.
President Trump tweeted that his “thoughts and prayers” are with the McCain’s sailors.
Several politicians on both sides of the aisle echoed the president’s sentiment, including Sen. John McCain. The ship is named for his grandfather, John Sidney McCain Sr., and his father, John Sidney McCain Jr.
“Cindy and I are keeping America’s sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight – appreciate the work of search & rescue crews,” McCain wrote in a tweet.
Call for an operational pause
The incident hardly represents an isolated incident for the Navy.
It comes only two months after the USS Fitzgerald’s collision with a Philippine container ship in the middle of the night off the coast of Japan. Seven U.S. sailors lost their lives in that collision, and last week the Navy relieved the USS Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, executive officer and senior enlisted sailor for mistakes that led to the crash.
The USS Lake Champlain, a guided missile cruiser, collided with a fishing boat in the Sea of Japan in May. There were no injuries during that incident. The Navy ship tried to alert the fishing boat before the collision, but it was too late.
The USS Antietam, also a guided-missile cruiser, ran aground off the coast of Japan in February, damaging its propellers and spilling oil into the water.
John Richardson, the Navy’s top admiral, called for an operational pause in the region and “a deeper look into how we train and certify forces operating in and around Japan,” following the McCain’s collision.
“We’ll examine the process in which we train and certify our forces that are deployed in Japan to make sure we’re doing all we can to make them ready for operations and war fighting,” Richardson told reporters.
“This will include, but not be limited to, looking at operational tempo, trends in personnel, material, maintenance and equipment.It will also include a review of how we train and certify our service warfare community, including tactical and navigational proficiency,” he explained yesterday at a press conference.
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