On Sunday night, a U.S. missile destroyer called the USS John McCain collided with another ship off Singapore and the Strait of Malacca. According to the Navy, at least 10 sailors from the USS John McCain are missing, while at least five have been injured. The unexpected accident has sparked a search and rescue effort.
The ship, which is named after the Arizona senator's father and grandfather (both were Navy admirals), is based in Yokosuka, Japan and has a crew of nearly 300 sailors. The collision happened during one of the ship's routine visits to another port in Singapore. Admiral John Richardson, 31st Chief of Naval Operations, tweeted after the incident that tracking down the missing sailors is top priority. The U.S. Navy published a press release, detailing the rescue effort:
Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities. In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships RSS Gallant (97), RSS Resilience (82), RSN helicopters and Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark (55) are currently in the area to render assistance.
About an hour later, Adm. Richardson updated the public once again, announcing that the ship, which had been damaged, was making its way back to its homeport. He went on to post a phone number the missing sailors' families can call for answers.
This isn't the first collision that's happened in that area over the past few months. On June 17, the USS Fitzgerald crashed into a Philippine container ship near Japan. The ship, like the USS McCain, belonged to the Navy's seventh fleet. Seven sailors weren't able to escape the flooding, and tragically, died. Ultimately, the Navy relieved the ship's commander and two other leaders and blamed poor leadership and loss of "situational awareness." The reason behind the latest collision is unknown. As Adm. Richardson iterated, the most important thing is locating those sailors.
McCain himself released a statement after hearing news of the ship named after his father and grandfather. He tweeted:
Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight - appreciate the work of search & rescue crews.
The destroyer has been used in the 2003 Iraq War, on the Korean Peninsula, and in Japan. According to The Guardian, the area where the USS McCain crashed is incredibly busy, as a quarter of the world's goods and oil passes through it. A map of the area during the time of the collision reveals how chaotic navigating a vessel must have been. Surely, each move counted.