So far, 2017 has not been a stellar year for U.S. Naval safety, with yet another collision being reported between a U.S. warship and a merchant vessel.
This latest incident comes to us from the Strait of Malacca, near Singapore, where the USS John S. McCain was struck by a merchant vessel just before 6:30am local Japanese time. The incident is reminiscent of a tragic incident earlier this year in which the USS Fitzgerald was struck by a different merchant vessel. That incident resulted in the death of 7 sailors who were asleep in their bunks at the time of the incident.
The crew of the USS John S. McCain and local authorities are currently searching for 10 missing sailors – an eerie coincide that is also similar to the immediate aftermath of the Fitzgerald accident. In the case of the previous naval collision, the missing soldiers were recovered from inside the ship, and had not been sent overboard in the crash.
“Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft. The extent of damage and personnel injuries is being determined.
“Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities. In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, the Republic of Singapore Navy ship RSS Gallant (97), RSN helicopters and Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark (55) are currently in the area to render assistance, according to the U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs.”
This string of accidents will surely force the Navy to review safety protocol for vessels traveling near merchant shipping lanes.
As always, we offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those affected by this tragedy, and we wish a speedy recovery for those injured or missing.