U.S. Navy orders investigation after warship collision

U.S. Navy orders broad investigation after USS John S. McCain collides with oil tanker.

Ben Ariel,

USS John S. McCain (file photo)
USS John S. McCain (file photo)
Reuters

The U.S. Navy on Monday ordered a broad investigation into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet, The Associated Press.

The investigation comes after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

It was the second major collision in the past few months involving the Navy's 7th Fleet. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided in waters off Japan, noted AP.

Vessels and aircraft from the U.S., Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia continue searching for the missing sailors. Four other sailors were evacuated by a Singaporean navy helicopter to a hospital in the city-state for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, the Navy said.

A fifth was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the destroyer arrived in Singapore under its own power, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said.

"It is the second such incident in a very short period of time — inside of three months — and very similar as well," Navy Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday, according to AP.

"It is the last of a series of incidents in the Pacific fleet in particular and that gives great cause for concern that there is something out there we are not getting at," he added.

Richardson ordered a pause in operations for the next couple of days to allow fleet commanders to get together with leaders, sailors and command officials and identify any immediate steps that need to be taken to ensure safety.

There was no immediate explanation for the latest collision. Singapore, at the southernmost tip of the Malay Peninsula, is one of the world's busiest ports and a U.S. ally, with its naval base regularly visited by American warships.

The McCain had been heading to Singapore on a routine port visit after conducting a sensitive freedom-of-navigation operation last week by sailing near one of China's man-made islands in the South China Sea. The collision east of Singapore between the 154-meter (505-foot) destroyer guided missile destroyer and the 183-meter (600-foot) Alnic MC ripped a gaping hole in the destroyer's hull.

Video released on Monday shows the damage the USS John S. McCain suffered after the collision.




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