A US submarine has collided with an unknown object in the South China Sea. The collision was reported by the Navy on Friday, but not confirmed until Monday. The extent of damage is still being assessed and no injuries have been reported at this time. This incident comes as tensions between North Korea and the United States are rising over Pyongyang’s missile tests.
The collision was reported by the submarine’s crew to the Navy on Friday, but no information about the incident has been released until Monday.
A damage assessment is underway in order to determine the extent of damage sustained by USS John S McCain (DDG 56) as well as to specific details pertaining to current condition, said the Navy.
USS John S McCain (DDG 56) is currently sailing under her own power and is heading to port at Changi Naval Base in Singapore, according to the Navy. The ship was on its way for a routine visit when it collided with an unknown object in the South China Sea. There were no casualties reported as of now, but the extent of damage sustained by the USS John S McCain is still being determined.
The collision was reported by crew members on Thursday as the ship sailed east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, according to Commander Arlo Abrahamson, a spokesman for US Pacific Fleet.
At this time it’s unclear what caused the collision with USS John S McCain. The Navy is currently assessing the damage sustained by its ship and says that there are currently no reports of injuries to crew members.
USS John S McCain (DDG 56) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the US Navy commissioned in 1994. The vessel has a crew complement composed of 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 enlisted members of the Navy.
USS John S McCain is part of the US Pacific Fleet, which recently lost another destroyer, USS Fitzgerald DDG 62, which collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan earlier this month. The crash killed seven sailors on board and injured three others. The commanding officer of USS Fitzgerald, Bryce Benson, was airlifted to hospital in the US and was later relieved of his duties.
The collision between USS McCain and an unknown object comes at a time when tensions between North Korea and the United States are escalating due to Pyongyang’s growing missile tests.
North Korea has conducted fifteen ballistic missile tests since February, further fueling the tensions with the US that are escalating over Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. On July 4, North Korea successfully test-fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile ICBM which flew for 39 minutes before landing in Japanese waters.
Last week, North Korea launched what appeared to be three short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan, according to US Pacific Command.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called on China to put pressure on North Korea in order to de-escalate the situation. However, recently Beijing appeared reluctant to act against Pyongyang, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying that “conflict could break out at any moment.