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Remains of U.S. Navy sailors found following destroyer collision

USS John S. McCain  (Photo Source: Cheng S. Yang / MGN)
USS John S. McCain (Photo Source: Cheng S. Yang / MGN)(KALB)
Published: Aug. 20, 2017 at 9:04 PM EDT
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By: CBS News

August 22, 2017

The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet said Tuesday that divers had located bodies inside the stricken USS John S. McCain, a day after the American warship collided with a merchant vessel near the busy shipping lanes of the Strait of Malacca.

Admiral Scott Swift did not say how many bodies had been found inside the ship or where there were located in the vessel, but added that Malaysian Navy vessels had also discovered a body. Work to confirm that discovery, and to remove and identify the remains found inside the McCain, was continuing.

Swift said the search for the 10 American sailors missing after the collision remained the focus of the Navy's efforts.

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain suffered extensive damage when it collided with an oil and chemical tanker while en route for a routine port visit in Singapore.

Navy officials have not confirmed details from an initial investigation, which pointed to a possible loss of steering. They've said there were no obvious signs of sabotage or a cyberattack.

The U.S. Navy is temporarily suspending all ship operations worldwide after two deadly collisions this summer between destroyers and merchant vessels.

Two months ago, another ship from the 7th fleet, the USS Fitzgerald, collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan. Seven Navy sailors died in that incident.

On Friday, the Fitzgerald's captain, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, was relieved of his duties and several other sailors were punished.

As CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports, the Navy is calling it an "operational pause." It will give ship commanders a chance to review basic seamanship and teamwork after a series of incidents in the Pacific which have called into question the level of training on U.S. Naval vessels.


By: CBS News

August 20, 2017

The USS John S. McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, was involved in a collision with a merchant vessel east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca, according to the U.S. Navy.

Search and rescue efforts are underway, U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet says. The Singaporean Navy is sending assets to assist and the USS America is en route to help.

The ship was on its way to Singapore after finishing what the Navy called "routine patrols" in the South China Sea. One of those patrols was a Freedom of Navigation mission near contested islands which China has built and claims as their own in the South China around August 10.

Senator John McCain sent the following message on Twitter in response: "Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight."

The Navy says the USS John S. McCain was commissioned in 1994 and carries a crew of 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 enlisted sailors.

The merchant vessel, ALNIC MC, is a 30,000+ ton oil/chemical tanker built in 2007. It's 600 feet long and 105 feet wide and sails under the Liberian flag. Its owner according to searches is Energetic Tank Inc. and its operator is Stealth Maritime Corporation S.A.

Navy disciplines USS Fitzgerald commander, 2 other senior officers for deadly crash

Navy disciplines USS Fitzgerald commander, 2 other senior officers for deadly crash

This collision comes on the heels of another incident involving the USS Fitzgerald.

The captain of the destroyer, two senior officers and at least a dozen sailors are being disciplined for the horrifying collision that killed seven sailors in June off the coast of Japan.

Thirty-five sailors were asleep in a compartment when the bow of the Philippine ship punched a 17-by-13 foot hole in the Fitzgerald's hull. Seven sleeping closest to the hole drowned but 28 somehow made it out alive, even though the entire space was nearly flooded within 30 to 60 seconds.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for latest updates.