KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 : Malaysia has sent several of its military assets to assist in the search and rescue of 10 crew reported unaccounted for by a United States guided-missile destroyer following a collision with a merchant vessel near Singapore early today.
Chief of Navy Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) had despatched KD Handalan, KD Gempita, KD Lekiu, a CB90 combat boat and a Super Lynx helicopter to assist the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
The Royal Malaysian Air Force has sent an aircraft.
Ahmad Kamarulzaman said KD Handalan received an emergency call from the US destroyer USS John McCain early today on the accident.
“USS John McCain, which suffered damage, is now on its way to Singapore. We pray that the 10 crew unaccounted for will be found safe,” he said to Bernama.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a statement in Singapore earlier that USS John McCain had collided with Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC in the Singapore Strait at 5.30 am and that the US Navy had reported five crew injured and 10 unaccounted for.
Ahmad Kamarulzaman appealed to fishermen in the waters off Johor and Pahang to help the RMN and MMEA in the search and rescue operation.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, in a Twitter message, said he had instructed the Chief of Navy to extend assistance to the search and rescue operation and expressed the hope that the missing crew would be found safe.
“I have instructed @mykamarul @tldm_rasmi to render full assistance. I pray that all missing will be found safe. @USNavy,” he tweeted.