Search fans out for missing American sailors off Singapore

Search and rescue teams fanned out across more than 2,600 sq km of Southeast Asian waters today in a bid to find any survivors from Monday’s collision between the American destroyer USS John S. McCain and the Stealth Maritime tanker Alnic MC.

The ships collided off Singapore on Monday morning with 10 American sailors reported missing.

Navy and Marine Corps divers on Tuesday located the remains of some of the 10 missing sailors in sealed compartments of the damaged destroyer.

American media is reporting that the US Navy will relieve Joseph Aucoin as commander of the US 7th Fleet following the collision which was the fourth accident involving a US warship this year.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Stealth Maritime told Splash that the Alnic MC will be repaired at an unspecified yard in Singapore. It suffered a gash to the starboard side of its bow above the waterline

The accident has been used by Chinese authorities to take a swipe at the US in an ongoing spat over who controls the South China Sea.

In an editorial in state-run China Daily earlier this week, the newspaper stated: “The US Navy, which likes to claim its presence can help safeguard ‘freedom of navigation’ in the South China Sea, is proving to be an increasing hindrance to ships sailing in Asian waters.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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