11202017Headline:

U.S. destroyer USS John S. McCain collides with cargo ship off Singapore

The U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain has collided with a large cargo ship east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca, U.S. officials say, adding that search and rescue efforts are underway.

The collision was reported at 5:24 a.m. Singapore time on Monday (6:24 a.m. in Japan) when the Navy ship collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC in waters east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca. The exact location was not immediately disclosed.

"Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft," the U.S. 7th Fleet said in a brief statement, which provided no specific details. "Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities."

Other details about the collision were not immediately available.

"Our first priority is determining the safety of the ship and crew," said U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. "As more information is learned, we will share it."

The accident occurred while the Navy vessel was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore.

Responding to the news, U.S. Senator John McCain said on his Twitter account: "[My wife] Cindy and I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight - appreciate the work of search & rescue crews."

The accident comes just two months after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan, killing 7 U.S. Sailors and injuring 3 others. The U.S. Navy on Thursday announced that it had relieved 3 of the ship's top officers as a result of that accident.

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