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Malaysia joins search

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) — Malaysian authorities said Monday assets had been deployed to join the search and rescue operation after U.S. navy destroyer John S. McCain collided with a merchant vessel near the Strait of Malacca.

U.S. navy said 10 of its sailors were missing and five were injured when the destroyer collided with the Liberian-flagged oil tank Alnic MC.

The latter suffered damage to her Fore Peak Tank 7m above the waterline, but reported no injuries.

The US Navy ship was heading to Singapore for a routine visit.

Malaysian navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said the Malaysian navy, airforce and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) are conducting search and rescue operations.

MMEA Director General Zulkifili Bin ABu Bakar told a press conference that three vessels from his agency and navy as well several boats were involved in the operations covering an area of 100 square nautical miles.

The location of the collision is the entrance to the Malacca Strait, where some 80,000 vessels pass by each year, he said.

“I don’t want to speculate, but this is a busy area,” he said, adding that the sea could be rough in the area.

U.S. navy said initial reports indicate the destroyer sustained damage to her port side aft but it had arrived at Singapore after the collision.

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