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Ten Sailors Missing after US Destroyer Collision Off Singapore | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain approaches the aircraft carrier USS George Washington for a fueling at sea in this December 5, 2010 handout photo courtesy of the US Navy. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cheng S. Yang/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Ten US sailors were missing and five injured early Monday after their destroyer collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore. 

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain arrived in Singapore Monday afternoon with a large hole torn towards its stern, as an air and sea search involving three countries was mounted for the missing crew. 

The warship collided with the Alnic MC near the Strait of Malacca in the early hours, the US Navy said.

“Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port (left) side aft,” it said in a statement.

“There are currently 10 sailors missing and five injured… search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities.”

A helicopter took four of the injured to a Singapore hospital with non life-threatening injuries while the fifth did not need further medical attention, the navy said.

The destroyer could still sail under its own power after the collision with the Liberian-flagged tanker at 5:24 am (2124 GMT Sunday). Two other vessels escorted it into port, AFP journalists saw. 

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

A major search was launched after the collision, involving boats and aircraft from Singapore, Malaysia and the US.

The vessel is named after US Senator John McCain’s father and grandfather, who were both admirals in the US navy.

McCain said in a tweet that he and his wife “are keeping America’s sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight — appreciate the work of search & rescue crews”.

President Donald Trump initially said “that’s too bad” in response to reporters’ shouted questions about the collision, as he arrived back at the White House after a holiday.

He followed up with a Tweet: “Thoughts & prayers are w/ our @USNavy sailors aboard the #USSJohnSMcCain where search & rescue efforts are underway.”