US warship collides with tanker near Singapore; 10 missing

In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. (James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP)

SINGAPORE (AP) — A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer collided with a tanker early Monday in waters east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca, and at least 10 sailors are missing.

The Navy said five others were hurt.

The USS John S. McCain sustained damage on its port side aft, or left rear, from the collision with the Alnic MC that happened at 5:24 a.m., the Navy’s 7th Fleet said. It wasn’t immediately clear if the oil and chemical tanker sustained damage or casualties in the collision.

The Navy said Osprey aircraft and Seahawk helicopters from the USS America were assisting. It also said tugboats and Singaporean naval and coast guard vessels were in the area to render assistance.

Malaysia’s navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin tweeted that two ships as well as aircraft from its navy and air force have been deployed to help look for the missing U.S. sailors.

The Strait of Malacca is a narrow body of water between Malaysia to the northeast and Indonesia to the southwest, with the city-state of Singapore at the tip of the Malay Peninsula.

The collision is the second involving a ship from the Navy’s 7th Fleet in the Pacific in two months. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship hit each other in waters off Japan.

The Fitzgerald’s captain was relieved of command and other sailors were being punished after the Navy found poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch contributed to the collision, the Navy announced last week. An investigation into how and why the Fitzgerald collided with the other ship was not finished, but enough details were known to take those actions, the Navy said.

The Japan-based 7th Fleet said the McCain had been heading to Singapore for a routine port visit when the collision occurred.

The ship is based at the 7th Fleet’s homeport of Yokosuka, Japan. It was commissioned in 1994 and has a crew of 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 enlisted sailors, according the Navy’s website.

The warship is 154 meters (505 feet) in length.

The Alnic MC is a 183-meter (600-foot) oil and chemical tanker.