Navy

US Navy Destroyer Collides with Merchant Ship in Pacific

Updated at 8:46 p.m. Eastern

Search-and-rescue efforts are underway in the Pacific after a U.S. Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship in the second such incident in two months, the service said.

The USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) collided with the Alnic MC, an oil and chemical tanker from Liberia, around 6:24 a.m. Monday local time in the South China Sea east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca, according to a statement from 7th Fleet.

The incident, which occurred while the ship was headed for a port visit in Singapore, caused damage to the port side aft, or left rear part, of the destroyer, the Navy said.

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The service was still trying to determine the extent of search-and-rescue efforts, as well as any injuries to personnel. The ship was sailing under its own power and heading to port.

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Assisting with the response were MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters from the USS America amphibious assault ship; and various ships and aircraft from Singapore, including tugboats, the naval ship RSS Gallant, helicopters and the coast guard vessel Basking Shark, according to 7th Fleet.

The accident comes just days after the Navy fired the top three officials from the USS Fitzgerald for their role in a deadly collision with a cargo ship on June 17 off the coast of Japan.

Cmdr. Bryce Benson, commander of the Fitzgerald, and Cmdr. Sean Babbitt, the executive officer, were "detached for cause," meaning the Navy "has lost trust and confidence in their ability to lead," the service announced Thursday.

In addition, the top enlisted sailor aboard the Fitzgerald, Chief Petty Officer Brice Baldwin, and several other sailors on the watch crew will face nonjudicial punishment for their role in the accident in which seven sailors drowned and others were injured.

The latest incident marks the fourth mishap involving U.S. ships in the Pacific this year, Fox News reported.

The USS Antietam, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, ran aground and dumped oil in Tokyo Bay in January and the USS Lake Champlain hit a fishing boat off the coast of South Korea in May, according to the network.

-- Richard Sisk contributed to this report.

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.