Remains found on US warship that collided off Singapore: US Navy

SINGAPORE: Divers searching for 10 missing sailors on a US destroyer that collided with a tanker off Singapore have found human remains, a US admiral said on Tuesday.
The accident off Singapore, which left a gaping gash in the destroyer’s hull, was the second deadly collision in two months involving an American warship.
The US Navy has announced a fleet-wide global investigation after the incident on Monday involving the USS John S McCain and the merchant vessel.
But Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, praised the surviving crew for saving the ship and saving lives.
The accident — which also left five sailors injured — happened before dawn in busy shipping lanes around the Strait of Singapore, and sent water flooding into the ship.
A massive search involving planes and aircraft was launched and US Navy divers joined the hunt on Tuesday, searching the ship’s flooded compartments
Speaking in Singapore, Swift said that “the divers were able to locate some remains in those sealed compartments during their search today”.
He said bodies were found during “the diving on McCain today but it’s premature to say how many and what the status of recovery those bodies are”.
Swift said Malaysian authorities had also found a body and were sending it to the US Navy for identification. The Malaysian navy said one of its ships had found a body eight nautical miles northwest of the accident site.
The admiral said the search and rescue effort, involving hundreds of personnel and several countries, would continue, adding: “We’re always hopeful that there are survivors.”
The McCain’s crew were “tough, and they are resilient,” Swift said. “It is clear that their damage control efforts saved their ship and saved lives.”
It was the second fatal collision in two months — after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged cargo ship off Japan in June and left seven sailors dead — and the fourth accident in the Pacific this year involving an American warship.
The incidents have sparked concern that the US Navy could be over-stretched in East Asia — both ships were from the Japan-based Seventh Fleet — as they tackle China’s rising assertiveness and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
The McCain had been heading for a routine stop in Singapore after carrying out a “freedom of navigation operation” in the disputed South China Sea earlier in August, sparking a furious response from Beijing. — AFP