The remains of some of the 10 missing USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) Sailors were discovered today by divers performing recovery operations inside the guided-missile destroyer, the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet Commander, Adm. Scott Swift, said in a press conference on Tuesday.
Swift also said the Royal Malaysian Navy has reported the discovery of potential remains of another missing McCain Sailor, located while the ship was providing search and rescue assistance east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
An international search for the missing sailors continued Tuesday.
“While the search and rescue efforts continue, I sincerely thank our Singapore partners, our Malaysian partners and everyone who has responded with urgency, compassion, and tireless commitment,” Swift said.
Search efforts are focused on an area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore where McCain was involved in a collision with the oil tanker Alnic MC at approximately 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time on Aug. 21 while transiting to Singapore for a routine port visit.
The collision caused significant hull damage to the USS John S. McCain, resulting in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery and communications rooms.
John S. McCain arrived at Changi Naval Base on Aug. 21 under its own power, where it was joined by America in the afternoon. While in Singapore, America is providing messing and berthing services to John S. McCain crew members and supporting damage control efforts, which are focused on dewatering the ship and restoring auxiliary systems. Ship Repair Facility divers have commenced assessments of the hull as well.
Royal Malaysian Navy coastal patrol craft Petir (12) and Pang Alang (39), Handalan-class missile boat KD Handalan, and Lekiu-class frigate KD Lekiu (30) along with two Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency vessels assisted in Tuesday’s search efforts.
Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships Noble Pearl (PCG 54) and Noble Knight (PCG 56) as well as Singaporean aircraft also aided in the day’s search.
Those vessels are joined by aviation assets from USS America (LHA 6), which will continue combing the area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore in the vicinity of the collision.
Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged 600-foot oil and chemical tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000.
The incident will be investigated to determine the facts and circumstances of the collision.