TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -The US Navy’s 7th Fleet, to which the destroyer belongs, said Monday that the bodies were scattered around within the destroyer, which has been docked at Changi naval base in Singapore ever since the August 21 collision.
“The incident is under investigation to determine the facts and circumstances of the collision,” said a spokesman for the Japan-based 7th Fleet.
The sailors were mostly electronics technicians, according to an earlier statement by the US military. Five sailors were also injured.
The McCain collided with the Liberian-flagged oil tanker, which was three times its size, before dawn near the entrance to the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
The incident marked this year’s fourth such collision involving a US Navy vessel in Asia.
The incident came nearly two months after seven US Navy sailors on board the USS Fitzgerald, another guided-missile destroyer of the 7th Fleet, lost their lives as the warship crashed into a container ship south of Japan.
The two incidents shared striking similarities in that a number of sailors ended up being trapped inside the hull of the two warships at the point of impact.
The high number of incidents prompted the US navy officials to put on halt all operations across the world and conduct a thorough review of seamanship and training in the Pacific.
They returned with the decision on Wednesday to remove Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the 7th Fleet, citing “loss of confidence” in his ability to lead the force.
While US Defense Secretary James Mattis has pledged a “broad” probe, US military officials are not ruling out reasons beyond human error.
"We're looking at every possibility," US Naval Operations Chief Admiral John Richardson said when asked about the possibility of a cyber attack.