U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers began searching for 10 sailors from USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), missing since the guided-missile destroyer and merchant vessel Alnic MC collided early on August 21, 2017.
Equipped with surface supplied air rigs, divers will access sealed compartments located in damaged parts of the ship. Additionally, they will conduct damage assessments of the hull and flooded areas, the Navy explained.
While diving proceeds, ships and aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy continue to provide search and rescue assistance along with two U.S. Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopters from amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). Those search efforts are focused on an area east of the Strait of Malacca and Singapore where the collision occurred as McCain was transiting to Singapore for a routine port visit.
John S. McCain and America arrived at Changi Naval Base on Monday after shipboard damage control efforts by the crew had halted further McCain flooding. While both ships are in Singapore, America is providing meals, berthing and other support to McCain crew members and supporting damage control efforts on board which are focused on dewatering the ship and restoring auxiliary systems.
Royal Malaysian Navy ship KD Handalan and two coastal patrol craft Petir (12) and Pang Alang (39) as well as two Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency vessels are assisting in the search, as are Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships Noble Pearl (PCG 54) and Noble Knight (PCG 56).
Several diving units are supporting search efforts, including Navy divers from Ship Repair Facility Yokosuka and Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific as well as Marine divers from 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked on America.
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.