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US missile destroyer collides with tanker in Singapore waters; 10 missing

Highlights

Ten crew members of the US guided missile destroyer, the USS John SMcCain Monday, are missing after the vessel collided with a Liberian-flaggedtanker, Alnic MC, in Singapore's territorial waters, the Maritime and PortAuthority of Singapore said Monday.

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There has been no report of oil pollution and marine traffic in theSingapore Straits has not been affected, MPA said in a statement, adding itwas investigating the incident.

Both vessels have been damaged and the US Navy has reported that 10of its crew are unaccounted for and five have sustained injuries, MPA said.

USS John S McCain sustained damage to her port side and requested tugassistance, while Alnic MC sustained damage to her fore peak tank, 7 metersabove the waterline, with no crew injuries, MPA said.

Alnic MC is a 2008-built Medium Range tanker with 50,760 dwt that wascarrying fuel oil to Singapore from Taiwan, brokers said. The 1994-commissioned John S McCain is the second US guided missile destroyer sinceJune to be involved in a collision in the region.

Both vessels are on their way to Singapore, where the damage will beassessed.

Search and rescue operations are currently under way and helicopters havetransferred the injured from the US vessel for medical treatment, MPA said.

Singapore navy and coast guard have deployed four vessels to renderassistance, it added.

Singapore is located along one of the world's busiest waterways withclose to 1,000 ships anchored there at any given time. A ship calls atSingapore port every two or three minutes -- a total of around 130,000 ships ayear -- making accident-free maritime passage critical.

SAFETY AT SEA WEEK

The incident has occurred at a time when MPA is organizing a Safety atSea Week from Monday. In conjunction with the safety week, a conference willbe held Tuesday bringing together over 250 international maritimeprofessionals to share best sea practices.

MPA will also coordinate a full-deployment, multi-agency ferry rescueexercise Friday. Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport & Ministry ofHealth Lam Pin Min is expected to observe the exercise.

In 2015, a large oil spill occurred in Singaporean waters when theLibyan-registered Aframax oil tanker Alyarmouk collided with a Supramax drybulk carrier Sinar Kapuas, resulting in the spillage of almost 33,000barrels from a cargo belonging to Hong Kong-listed Strong Petrochemical Group. Under International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limitedclassifications, oil spills of more than 700 mt are classified as large.

Singapore has invested significantly to avert such maritime accidents,sources said.

In August last year, the 2008-built Dream II, an Iranian VLCC formerlyknown as the Danesh, collided with a container ship, the MSC Alexandra, around3 km southeast of Sebarok Island in Singapore territorial waters.

--Sameer C. Mohindru, sameer.mohindru@spglobal.com--Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@spglobal.com