Sea search for missing US warship sailors suspended

Singapore (AFP) –


An international search at sea for nine American sailors still missing after their warship collided with a tanker off Singapore was suspended Thursday, the US Navy said.

They said divers will continue "search and recovery" efforts inside flooded compartments of the USS John S. McCain, which was left with a gaping hole in its hull after Monday's collision.

"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 a massive area at sea, said a statement from the US Navy's Seventh Fleet.

Remains already recovered from the destroyer were identified by the navy as Kenneth Aaron Smith, but nine other sailors remain missing.

Monday's accident, which happened in busy shipping lines by the Strait of Singapore, was the second deadly incident involving a US destroyer in two months after an American ship collided with a cargo vessel off Japan in June.

It prompted the US Navy to announce a fleet-wide, global investigation and to sack the commander of the Japan-headquartered Seventh Fleet, which both the warships belonged to.

Singapore also confirmed the search efforts were suspended.

They had involved ships, aircraft and divers from Singapore, the US, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, covering a vast area east of the city-state.