USS John S. McCain collides with merchant ship

What is known following the collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and the merchant vessel Alnic MC.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said an in-depth review of 7th Fleet operations ordered by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson Monday will hunt for any systemic issues that could have contributed to two devastating ship collisions in the last two months. 

On Sunday the Navy destroyer John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship east of the Malacca Straits off the coast of Singapore. Ten sailors were still missing and five injured in the collision with the Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC.

On June 17 the destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of the Japan, killing seven sailors.  Both destroyers are part of 7th Fleet.

   

US Navy destroyer USS John McCain collides with Liberian-flagged tanker Alnic MC in the Strait of Malacca Aug, 21. Two months prior, destroyer Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collided with Philippine-flagged container ship ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan.
US Navy destroyer USS John McCain collides with Liberian-flagged tanker Alnic MC in the Strait of Malacca Aug, 21. Two months prior, destroyer Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collided with Philippine-flagged container ship ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan.

   

On Monday Richardson announced the Navy would conduct an operational pause to look at the Yokosuka, Japan-based 7th Fleet’s operations.  

“The Chief of Naval Operations’ broader inquiry will look at all related accidents, incidents at sea, that sort of thing. He is going to look at all factors, not just the immediate ones — that will fall rightly under the fleet commanders investigation of what happened to his ship. This is a broader look at what is happening,” Mattis said to reporters traveling with him in Jordan. 

CNO statement on recent incidents in the Pacific

"Our primary concern at this point is the safety of the crew and ship - that is the focus of our efforts at the scene. We will continue to provide updates as events unfold and we learn more. I am also directing a comprehensive review into all potential factors contributing to these incidents."

“My thoughts and prayers are with the sailors and the families of the USS John McCain. We obviously have an investigation underway and that will determine what happened,” Mattis said.

The fleet-wide inquiry ordered by Richardson will “look into these incidents and to determine any of the causal factors to determine what’s going on, both immediate contributors to this incident but also any related factors. Once we have those facts we’ll share them with you,” Mattis said. 

Rumor control with OS2 Larter

Defense News' David Larter takes on some of the rumors surrounding the collision involving the USS John S. McCain.