MALAYSIA, INDONESIA JOIN SEARCH FOR MISSING SAILORS FROM US DESTROYER

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia– The Malaysian authorities said Monday that assets had been deployed to join search and rescue operations for missing dailors from the United States Navy destroyer John S. McCain which collided with a merchant vessel east of the Malaysian state of Johor at the southernmost tip of mainland Asia on Monday.

U.S. navy said 10 of its sailors were missing and five were injured when the destroyer collided with the Liberian-flagged oil tank, Alnic MC, which suffered damage to her Fore Peak Tank seven metres above the waterline, but reported no injury.

The US Navy ship was heading to Singapore for a routine visit.

Malaysian navy chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said the Malaysian navy, airforce and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) are conducting search and rescue operations.

MMEA director-general Admiral Zulkifli Abu Bakar told a press conference that three vessels from his agency and the navy as well several boats are involved in the operations covering an area of 100 square nautical miles.

The location of the collision is near the entrance to the Malacca Strait, where some 80,000 vessels pass by each year, he said.

“I don’t want to speculate, but this is a busy area,” he said, adding that the sea could be rough in the area.

U.S. navy said initial reports indicate the destroyer sustained damage to her port side aft but it had arrived at Singapore after the collision.

Meanwhile Indonesia has dispatched ships and a helicopter to join the search and rescue operation.

Indonesia deployed two navy ships and one helicopter in the operation after the incident in waters east of Singapore.

In Washington, the U.S. Navy said Monday that it had ordered an operational pause of its fleets globally and a comprehensive review of the U.S. Pacific-based 7th Fleet after a collison of a U.S. destroyer and a oil tanker near Singapore early Monday.

The review should seek the root causes of the incidents, said Admiral John Richardson, the 31st Chief of Naval Operations, in a video published on the U.S. Navy’s official twitter account.

The investigation will examine the process by which the U.S. Navy trains and certifies its forces that were forward deployed in Japan, Richardson said.

The investigation team should be a “broad and diverse” one, with people inside and outside the Navy, the senior navy official added.

It was the second U.S. destroyer involved in a collision in the past two months. In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship in waters off Japan, leaving seven sailors dead.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK