More resources deployed in search for missing sailors of American warship: MPA CEO

Search and rescue operations for the 10 missing sailors from the American guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain continued through the night, after the warship collided with a Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC east of Singapore.
Search and rescue operations for the 10 missing sailors from the American guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain continued through the night, after the warship collided with a Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC east of Singapore.PHOTO: MPA
The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain was involved in a collision with oil tanker Alnic MC early Monday morning.
The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain was involved in a collision with oil tanker Alnic MC early Monday morning. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - More resources have been deployed on Tuesday morning (Aug 22) to search for the  10 missing sailors from the American warship USS John S. McCain, which collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore early Monday morning, said Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) chief executive Andrew Tan.

Mr Tan said on Tuesday that no effort will be spared to search for the missing sailors and that the resources deployed include those of the United States.

"We have two (Republic of Singapore Navy) patrol vessels on the scene right now, we have (Republic of Singapore Air Force) dispatching their aircraft. I understand that the US will also be deploying more of their assets," he added.

"So everyone is working closely together to make sure that we spare no effort in terms of searching for the unaccounted for,"

Search and rescue operations for the 10 missing sailors from the American guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain continued through the night, after the warship collided with a Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC east of Singapore.

The warship, based in Japan, was on its way to Singapore for a routine port visit when it collided with the merchant ship, which is more than three times its potential weight.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Safety@Sea Conference, Mr Tan said the USS John S. McCain is currently being inspected.

During the collision, the US ship sustained significant hull damage that resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms. Damage control efforts by the crew prevented further flooding at sea.

Mr Tan also conveyed his thoughts to the families of those missing and injured.

 

"This incident took place in Singapore waters and MPA continues to lead the search and rescue efforts," he said.

"All in all, we have to work very hard together, and make sure that we do what we must to locate the unaccounted for crew."

     Apart from the 10 who are missing, five US sailors were injured. Four of them were evacuated by a Singapore Armed Forces Super Puma helicopter, which landed on the lawns of Singapore General Hospital, where they are believed to be warded. The fifth did not need further medical attention.

Speaking at the conference at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on Tuesday, MPA chairman Niam Chiang Meng said that the collision between the American warship and the oil tanker showed that efforts have to be stepped up to enhance safety at sea.

"Our hearts go out to the missing sailors and the injured. We hope that (those missing) will be found speedily and those injured will recover quickly," he added. "We need to continue our push to improve safety at sea."

More than 250 international maritime professionals attended the conference, which is part of the annual Safety@Sea Week from Monday to Friday.

At the event, Mr Niam said that to improve safety, MPA will be launching three out of seven modules under the Sense-making Analytics For maritime Event Recognition project from September. The three modules are automated movement detection, infringement analytics and pilot boarding detection.

The project, a collaboration between MPA and IBM, aims to develop and test new analytics-based technologies, which will go towards improving maritime and port operations to cater to increasing growth in vessel traffic in Singapore.

Mr Niam also noted that Singapore is located at one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and therefore has a key role to play in helping reduce and prevent maritime accidents.

"Despite the many advancements in technology, accidents at sea still continue to be a serious concern," he added.

"The consequences are harsh, ranging from the loss of human lives and property to lasting damage to the marine environment and eco-system. Thus, improving maritime safety must be a key imperative of ours."