US Navy commander Admiral Scott Swift. (Photo: Aqil Haziq Mahmud)
SINGAPORE: US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift said divers have uncovered some remains in sealed compartments on board the USS John S McCain, following the collision between the US warship and an oil tanker in Singapore's waters on Monday (Aug 21).
Speaking at a press conference at Changi Naval Base on Tuesday evening, Adm Swift said it is "premature" to tell how many bodies were found in the USS John S McCain.
He added that the US Navy is in the process of transferring a body reported by the Malaysian Navy to see if it is one of the 10 missing sailors.
On the cause of collisions involving US Navy vessels, Adm Swift said there are "no indications of cyber interference as yet".
The Navy commander also said the Singapore Government's response to this incident has been "extraordinary". "I'm very grateful for that," he said.
Adm Swift added that the search continues for the 10 missing sailors, and noted that "one tragedy like this is one too many". "We will continue the SAR operation until the probability of discovering sailors is exhausted," he said.
He also lauded the crew on board the USS John S McCain. "It is clear that their damage control saved their ship and saved lives," he said.
Photo of the USS John S McCain berthed at Changi Naval Base. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)
The US Navy on Monday announced a fleet-wide global investigation after the collision, which also left five injured.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), which is leading search and rescue operations, said it would spare no effort to find the missing crew members. It said on Tuesday that the search area for the missing sailors has been expanded to cover 2,620 square kilometres. It also deployed more aircraft and vessels to conduct search and rescue efforts on Tuesday.
The US Navy said in an update on Tuesday that divers began searching in the ship's flooded compartments, and will conduct damage assessment of the hull and flooded areas.
The collision between the McCain and the merchant vessel Alnic MC occurred in the early hours of Monday while the warship was heading to Singapore for a routine port call.
The warship sustained "significant damage to the hull" in the collision, resulting in flooding to nearby compartments including crew berthing, machinery and communications rooms, the US Navy said. It arrived at Changi Naval Base on Monday afternoon.
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