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Navy Expands Search Area for Missing USS John S. McCain Sailors

Navy and Marine Corps divers provide support to the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) at Changi Naval Base, Singapore Aug. 23, 2017. The McCain sustained significant damage following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Strait of Malacca and Singapore on Aug. 21, 2017. US Navy

The Navy is expanding the search for sailors assigned to USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) missing following its collision with chemical tanker Alnic MC on Monday.

Following the collision, the Navy stated 10 sailors were missing. Names of the missing sailors have not been released publicly by the Navy.

The at sea search is expanding out from the point of collision in an area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, the Navy announced. The larger search area comes a day after the Royal Malaysian Navy discovered at sea the potential remains of a missing McCain sailor. The U.S. Navy is currently working to identify the remains.

“U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers are continuing to search the ship, seeking to locate more of the missing sailors. In addition, they are conducting inspections of the damage to inform repair plans. More divers will join the effort tomorrow. At sea, search efforts are focused on an area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore where John S. McCain was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC on Aug. 21. The area centers around the point of collision and is expanding to encompass a greater area as time goes on,” read a statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.
“Yesterday, the Royal Malaysian Navy discovered the potential remains of a missing Sailor while searching the area. The remains were transferred to the U.S. Navy where efforts are underway to determine identification.”

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) arrives pier side at Changi Naval Base, Republic of Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Strait of Malacca. US Navy Photo

Some of ten missing sailors were discovered during initial dives Wednesday. Divers are also surveying damage to the ship, which is moored at Changi Naval Base, Singapore.

During a Tuesday briefing dockside at Changi, Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift told reporters the search for missing sailors would continue until there was no likelihood of finding anyone.

“We have found remains in the John S. McCain,” Swift said.
“The Malaysian Navy has found some remains as well. It is to be determined if the remains that were discovered by the Malaysian Navy are one of the ten missing sailors but we look forward to starting the process to identifying those remains.”

Two MH-60 S helicopters from USS America (LHA-6) are also searching at sea. The Royal Malaysian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy also have sent ships to assist the search at sea.

The Navy is also starting an investigation into the circumstances of the collision as well as a Fleet Forces led review of operations in the Western Pacific.

The following is the complete statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.

CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Republic of Singapore – The search for missing Sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) continues in the South China Sea and within the ship itself.

Yesterday, Adm. Scott Swift, commander, Pacific Fleet, announced that the remains of a number of the 10 missing John S. McCain Sailors were discovered within the ship.

Today U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers are continuing to search the ship, seeking to locate more of the missing Sailors. In addition, they are conducting inspections of the damage to inform repair plans. More divers will join the effort tomorrow.

At sea, search efforts are focused on an area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore where John S. McCain was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC on Aug. 21. The area centers around the point of collision, and is expanding to encompass a greater area as time goes on.

Yesterday, the Royal Malaysian Navy discovered the potential remains of a missing Sailor while searching the area. The remains were transferred to the U.S. Navy where efforts are underway to determine identification.

Both the RMN and the Republic of Singapore Navy continue to assist the U.S. Navy in the search. Today those efforts involved RSN ships Gallant and Fearless, RMN ship Leiku, and two SH-60S helicopters from USS America (LHA 6).

The incident will be investigated to determine the facts and circumstances of the collision.

 

 

  • leroy

    These two collisions (Fitzgerald, McCain) are so irresponsible, so egregious, so derelict that I believe criminal charges will flow from these investigations. There is absolutely no way a Navy warship should ever be hit by another vessel. It is inconceivable, therefore, charges must follow. Let JAG figure them out.

  • muzzleloader

    Without going into details, it is highly unlikely that bodies will be recovered at this point, especially on the open seas. That said, I fully understand the search efforts.

    • D. Jones

      Indeed. Terrible for the affected families. May they at least find some small solace in the efforts to find their lost kin.

  • D. Jones

    What is funny about the death of US sailors?