US Navy identifies 1 dead, 9 missing sailors

Indo Asian News Service

Singapore, Aug 24 (IANS) The US Navy on Thursday revealed the identities of the one deceased sailor and nine others still missing after its destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore last week.

The deceased sailor was identified as electronics technician Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from New Jersey. The Navy also added that it would be calling off its search and rescue efforts in surrounding waters near Singapore and the Straits of Malacca, Xinhua news agency reported.

"After more than 80 hours of multinational search efforts, the US Navy suspended search and rescue efforts for missing USS John S. McCain sailors in an approximately 2,100-square mile area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore," it said in a statement.

But the statement said divers would still continue search and recovery efforts inside flooded compartments of the naval destroyer.

On Tuesday, American divers found human remains in "sealed compartments" that were flooded after the collision tore a gaping hole in the warship's left hull.

Nine other missing personnel include electronics and information technicians and communications electricians.

Meanwhile, the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore announced that Singapore decided to suspend the multi-agency search and rescue operation for the missing sailors, and will continue to support the US Navy in their search within the warship.

According to MPA, the Singapore-coordinated search and rescue efforts with the US, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia covered 5,524 square km and involved more than 300 personnel from various Singapore agencies over the past four days.

The destroyer collided with an oil tanker Alnic MC in waters off the eastern side of Singapore on Monday morning.