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Divers from the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps have found the remains of some of the 10 missing sailors from the USS John S McCain destroyer, which collided with an oil tanker on Sunday in the Singapore Strait.
The divers were looking in the hull of the warship, which suffered damage from the collision to its port side, below the waterline, and several compartments were flooded, including a sleeping area for the crew.
The Malaysian Navy, also involved in the search operation, may have located other remains, too, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott H. Swift, told media.
The USS John S McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, collided with an oil tanker sailing under a Liberian flag in the Strait of Singapore on Sunday afternoon local time. Ten sailors were reported missing by the U.S. Navy, and four others were hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries.
The destroyer was making a routine port stop in Singapore and the tanker was carrying about 12,000 tons of crude oil to Singapore from Taiwan. Its tonnage is 30,000, which is three times the tonnage of the destroyer, the BBC notes, and the two are of approximately equal length.
At the time of writing, the warship was docked in Singapore while the search continues, after the rescue crews managed to stop the flooding of other compartments in the vessel’s hull.
The incident took place on the first day of a joint drill of the U.S. Navy and its South Korean counterpart, aimed at sending a message to North Korea. It is also the fourth incident involving vessels from the U.S. Pacific fleet since the start of this year, Reuters notes.
A fleet-wide investigation is under way and there are plans to halt operations in the fleet temporarily, to address safety problems.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that the oil tanker, the Alnic MC, had been inspected in the Chinese port of Dongying in late July and four deficiencies had been noted at that time, including two navigation issues, one fire safety issue and a document deficiency.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.