TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Admiral Scott Swift said the Malaysian navy, which is helping with the search, had also reported finding a body. He said the US navy was in the process of establishing whether any of the remains could be identified as one of 10 sailors reported missing after the incident.
The USS John S McCain and the Alnic MC tanker collided as the warship was nearing Singapore for a routine port call. The collision tore a hole in the ship’s port side at the waterline, flooding compartments that included a crew sleeping area.
On Tuesday, ships and aircraft from an international search-and-rescue operation were still looking for the missing sailors in an area to the east of Singapore and the Malaysia peninsula near to where the accident took place.
With the ship now docked in Singapore, US navy and marine divers joined the search, moving into rooms of the ship that had been damaged and sealed off.
“The divers were able to locate some remains in those sealed compartments during their search today,” Swift said in Singapore. “Additionally, the Malaysian navy has reported that they have found potential remains.”
The collision – the second major accident involving the US Pacific fleet in two months – prompted a fleet-wide investigation and plans for temporary halts in operations to focus on safety.
Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided in waters off Japan in an accident the US navy has conceded was caused by poor leadership and seamanship.
Immediate efforts by the crew on the USS John S McCain after the collision on Monday were able to halt flooding into other parts of the vessel’s hull, the US seventh fleet said in a statement.
A CNN report on Tuesday, citing unidentified navy officials, said early indications suggested the collision was caused by a steering malfunction as the warship approached the Strait of Malacca. A US navy spokesman could not immediately comment on the report.
The navy said late on Monday that aircraft from the USS America, an amphibious assault ship that was in port at Singapore’s Changi naval base, would continue searching for the missing sailors. They joined aircraft and vessels from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia already searching in the area.
Damage control efforts on board the USS John S McCain were focused on draining water from the ship and restoring auxiliary systems, and divers had started assessing the warship’s damaged hull.
A public affairs officer for the US seventh fleet said the USS John S McCain would remain at Changi naval base and a repair plan would be put in place after assessments were complete.
Singapore’s maritime and port authority said it had deployed 250 personnel in the search-and-rescue effort, which had continued through the night.
On Monday the US chief of naval operations, Adm John Richardson, said there were no indications so far that the collision was intentional or the result of cyber intrusion or sabotage. “But review will consider all possibilities,” he tweeted.
Richardson said he was asking his fleet commanders for a one- to two-day staggered “operational pause” to discuss action to ensure safe and effective operations. He said this could begin within a week.
He also said a comprehensive review would examine the training of US forces deployed to Japan “to make sure we are doing everything we can to make them ready for operations and warfighting”. The US seventh fleet has its headquarters in Japan.
This would include looking at “operational tempo, trends in personnel, material, maintenance and equipment”, Richardson said.
The John S McCain is named after the father and grandfather of the US Republican senator John McCain, who were admirals, Guardian reported.