10 sailors missing, 5 injured

A US destroyer collided with a merchant vessel near Singapore on Monday, leaving 10 sailors missing, according to a US Navy statement.

The guided-missile destroyer, USS John S. McCain, was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel, Alnic MC, while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, it said.

"There are currently 10 sailors missing and five injured. Four of the injured were medically evacuated by a Republic of Singapore Navy Puma helicopter to a hospital in Singapore for non-life threatening injuries.

“The fifth injured sailor does not require further medical attention," the statement added.

It said the collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time (2124 GMT), while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore.

"The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to Changi Naval Base [Singapore]. At this point, no fuel or oil is visible on the water’s surface near the ship.

"Search-and-rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities.”

The statement said the merchant vessel is a Liberian-flagged 600-foot oil and chemical tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000.

It also said initial reports indicate the destroyer sustained damage to her port side.

"Damage control efforts continue while the extent of damage is being determined. The incident will be investigated," it added.

The U.S. Navy's Aegis destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) leaves a naval port in Busan, South Korea, Monday, March 30, 2009. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Jo Jung-ho) ** KOREA OUT ** Photo: Jo Jung-ho/ASSOCIATED PRESS