The USS John McCain suffered a steering malfunction when it collided with an oil tanker near Singapore on Monday, according to a US Navy official who spoke to CNN.
The crew was unable to utilize the warship’s backup steering systems as it approached the Strait of Malacca, although steering was recovered after the collision, another Navy official told the network.
Adm. John Richardson ordered a pause in operations over the next few days in order to assess immediate safety precautions and the U.S. Navy said broad investigation would be launched into the Pacific-based 7th Fleet, which crashed for the second time in just two months.
There was no immediate explanation for the collision, and questions linger over the possibility of cyber sabotage.
Richardson later tweeted that there were no initial indications of cyber intrusion or sabotage, although he added that a review would consider all possibilities.
Monday’s collision, which took place while the USS McCain was heading to Singapore on a routine port visit, left a gaping hole in the destroyer’s hull.
Ten American sailors are missing, and Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia are assisting the U.S. in the search.
Four other sailors were evacuated by a Singaporean navy helicopter to a hospital in the city-state for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, the Navy said.
A fifth was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the destroyer arrived in Singapore under its own power, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said.
In June, the USS Fitzgerald crashed into a container ship in the waters off Japan, killing seven sailors. Three officers were removed from duty while an investigation is still ongoing.
Four U.S. Navy ships have crashed in the Pacific this year so far.
In addition to the USS McCain and the USS Fitgerald, the USS Lake Champlain crashed into a South Korea fishing boat in the Sea of Japan on May 9. No one was injured.
On January 31, the USS Antietam ran aground and spilled more than 1,000 gallons of oil into the Tokyo Bay, according to the Navy Times. The guided-missile cruiser’s propellers were damaged, but no one was injured.
With News Wire Services
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