Malaysia suspends search for missing crew of USS John S. McCain

USS John S. McCain's hull is damaged after collision with oil tanker in Singaporean waters on Monday. – EPA pic, August 26, 2017.

MALAYSIAN maritime authorities have suspended search and rescue efforts for the missing crew of the USS John S. McCain, The Star reported today. 

Operations were halted around 8.30pm on Thursday, according to Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency director-general Zulkifli Abu Bakar. 

“We have suspended efforts temporarily after more than 83 hours, covering at least 4,962sq km of the eastern coast of Johor.

“More than 500 personnel, nine vessels and five aircraft were involved in the search,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said the decision was made to suspend the search after the US Seventh Fleet halted its search of the sea to concentrate search efforts on the wrecked portion of the US destroyer.

Zulkilfi said search and rescue assets were on standby for redeployment should new leads surface.

Meanwhile, the Royal Malaysia Navy, in a statement, said the body it recovered and handed over the the US Navy was not one of the missing crew.

“They returned the remains to the KD Lekiu on Thursday evening and we handed it over to the police the same day,” it said.

The US missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker some 4.5 nautical miles off the coast of Teluk Ramunia at 5.30am on Monday.

The next day, the US Navy found the bodies of some of the missing sailors inside sealed sections of the damaged hull of the USS John S. McCain, which is moored at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base. – August 26, 2017.

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