The U.S. Navy destroyer John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca on Monday local time, leaving 10 crew members missing and five others injured, the Navy said.
The destroyer belongs to the 7th Fleet based in Yokosuka near Tokyo. Another guided-missile destroyer from the fleet, the Fitzgerald, collided with a container ship near the Japanese coast in June, killing seven sailors aboard the warship.
The collision damaged the rear section of the John S. McCain on its port side but it is sailing under its own power and is heading to a port, the Navy said Sunday, adding that search and rescue efforts are under way in coordination with local authorities.
The John S. McCain collided with the tanker Alnic MC east of the Strait of Malacca, and the collision was reported at 5:24 a.m., Singapore time, according to the Navy. The destroyer was travelling to Singapore for a routine port visit at the time.
Singapore and Malaysian authorities have both dispatched ships to assist the U.S. Navy in the search and rescue efforts, while the Navy has mobilized MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft and SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from the America amphibious assault ship.
The John S. McCain is the same Arleigh Burke-class destroyer as the Fitzgerald and is 154 meters long. On Aug. 10, it took part in the Navy’s third “freedom of navigation operation” in the South China Sea since Donald Trump became president of the United States, Reuters news agency reported earlier.
The destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles, or 22 kilometers, of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals, the report said. China has territorial rows with its neighbors over the area.
The Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged, 183-meter oil and chemical tanker that was due to make a port call at Singapore on Monday after leaving a port in South Korea on July 3, according to ship-related information site MarineTraffic.
The U.S. Navy said last week it will remove the commander and two other senior officers of the Fitzgerald over the fatal collision with the Philippine-flagged container ship off Japan’s Izu Peninsula on June 17.