Ten U.S. sailors are missing and five are injured after the USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship east of the Straights of Malacca and Singapore, according to the U.S. Navy.
The investigation will consider all possibilities into cause, including cyber intrusion, a Naval official said, but the Navy also said there were no indications of the latter.
The news is eerily similar to the earlier tragedy in June when the USS Fitzgerald Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship from the Philippines. Seven U.S. sailors died and their bodies were recovered in a flooded berthing compartment.
The obvious question arises: How could this have happened again? (acknowledging that it’s too early yet to perceive the differences, which could be key.)
“Responding to a shouted question from a reporter about the incident on Sunday, President Donald Trump said: ‘That’s too bad.'” NBC reported.
The latest tragedy occurred on August 20.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The McCain Is a Guided Missile Destroyer & the Collision Was With the Vessel Alnic MC
The USS John S. McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, was “involved in a collision with the merchant verssel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straights of Malacca and Singapore,” the Navy reported.
Admiral John Richardson said the “safety of the crew and the ship and taking care of their families” was the primary goal at the time.
According to the Navy, “Initial reports indicate #USSJohnSMcCain damaged to port side aft. Extent of damage and injuries being determined.”
On August 22, the Navy announced it “will remove from duty the commander of the 7th Fleet amid the latest incidents involving four collisions in Asia,” Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, according to CBS News, which reported that the removal was “for loss of confidence in the wake of four accidents.”
2. There Is a Rescue Effort Underway to Find the 10 Missing Sailors & John McCain Said He’s Praying for Them
Ten sailors are missing and five injured, the Navy said in a press release. The collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time, according to the Navy. “First priority is determining the safety of #USSJohnSMcCain and crew. As more information is learned, we will share it,” the Navy wrote on Twitter.
John McCain said that he and his wife, Cindy, are keeping the American sailors in their prayers. According to NBC, “the guided missile destroyer is named for the Arizona’s senator’s father and grandfather, both of whom were admirals.”
Tragically, McCain has been dealing with his own health issues after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
3. The Ship Was Visiting a Singapore Port When the Tragedy Happened
The ship was transiting to “a routine port visit in Singapore,” the Navy reports. According to the Navy, the ship is now sailing under its own power and heading back to port.
The cause of the collision was not yet clear.
“McCain was fighting flooding in several places and that it had limited propulsion and electrical power. The Navy said the McCain was steaming under its own power to port,” CNN reported.
4. Alnic MC Is a 600-Foot Oil & Chemical Tanker Flying Under the Flag of Liberia
Alnic MC is a 600-foot oil and chemical tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000.
The ship flies under the Liberian flag.
5. The Sailors Who Died in USS Fitzgerald Were Representative of America’s Diversity
Dakota Kyle Rigsby. Shingo Alexander Douglass. Ngoc T Truong Huynh. Noe Hernandez. Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan. Xavier Alec Martin. Gary Leo Rehm Jr.
Hard working. Proud of his work. Always positive. A volunteer firefighter. A superior sailor. The love of his wife’s life. These are some of the ways that the lost sailors of the USS Fitzgerald were remembered by those who knew and loved them.
Just days before the USS McCain tragedy, the U.S. Navy relieved “the USS Fitzgerald’s commander and two other senior leaders of their duties — and it’s also praising the crew for saving their ship after the destroyer collided with a large Philippine-flagged container ship off the coast of Japan on June 17,” NPR reported.
“Inadequate leadership and flawed teamwork contributed to the crash, the Navy said after releasing the findings of its investigation into the crash. It also blamed poor seamanship by the crews of both the guided-missile cruiser and the ACX Crystal, whose gross tonnage was triple that of the U.S. ship,” according to NPR.
There were three other recent incidents too, according to CNN. “On June 17, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan. That collision resulted in the deaths of seven US sailors. On May 9, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain was struck by a small fishing boat off the Korean Peninsula. And in late January, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam ran aground while trying to anchor in Tokyo Bay,” CNN reported.
Learn more about the USS Fitzgerald tragedy here: