Search on for sailors missing after US warship collision
Five injured taken to SGH after guided-missile destroyer collides with oil tanker in Singapore Strait
Search and rescue efforts are continuing for 10 sailors who are missing from an American warship after it collided with an oil tanker in the Singapore Strait early yesterday.
Four others, who had non-life threatening injuries, were evacuated by a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Super Puma helicopter to Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
A fifth sailor was taken in an ambulance to SGH after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain berthed at Changi Naval Base (CNB) yesterday afternoon, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
No one on the Liberian oil tanker Alnic MC was injured, said the MPA.
The destroyer is currently berthed at CNB and the tanker at Singapore's eastern anchorage for inspections, added the MPA, which is investigating the incident.
The 5.30am collision was the fourth accident involving an American warship this year.
In a Facebook post, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the MPA was leading the search-and-rescue operation.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post that he hoped the sailors would be found.
"My thoughts are with their families," he added.
In a statement on its website, the US Navy said the USS John S McCain was on its way to Singapore for a routine visit.
"Significant damage to the hull resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms. Damage control efforts by the crew halted further flooding," it said.
The US Navy said its amphibious assault ship USS America, which is supporting the search, had arrived at CNB, and will provide messing and berthing services to McCain crew members and to support damage control efforts on board.
The MPA said the Alnic's fore peak tank was damaged 7m above the waterline.
A crew member told Reuters the tanker was carrying 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge in Singapore.
In an update last night, the MPA said RSN patrol vessel RSS Gallant and Singapore Police Coast Guard's (PCG) PH55, which were in the area, provided assistance after receiving an alert of the accident in Singapore's territorial waters at 5.30am.
At 6.45am, the MPA activated three tugboats and a team of divers to the collision site.
MPA said about 250 personnel from various agencies were deployed on the scene. The SAF deployed a frigate, two patrol vessels, two Super Pumas and a Chinook helicopter, while the PCG deployed two patrol vessels.
As of 6pm, five sorties had been carried out.
The US Navy sent its MV-22 Osprey aircraft and Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from USS America, and the Malaysian navy also deployed air and sea vessels to assist the search and rescue efforts.
The MPA said Singapore also accepted an offer of assistance from Indonesia, which deployed a helicopter to search the northern coastline of Bintan island.
"Efforts will continue through the night at sea with RSN and PCG vessels deployed, even as the US investigates the damaged interior of USS John S McCain," it added.
MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said: "The Singapore authorities will spare no effort to try to find them, and render all possible assistance to our US friends."