(CNSNews.com) – The bodies of all ten U.S. sailors missing since their destroyer was damaged in a collision with a merchant ship east of Singapore on August 21 have been recovered by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers, the Seventh Fleet announced Sunday.
Investigations continue into the collision between the USS John S. McCain, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, and the Alnic MC, a 30,000 ton Liberian-flagged chemical and oil products tanker.
The fallen sailors range in age from 20 to 39.
–Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, from Amazonia, Mo.
–Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, from El Paso, Texas.
–Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, from Gaithersburg, Md.
–Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, from Cable, Ohio.
–Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, from Manchester, Md.
–Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
–Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, from Suffield, Conn.
–Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, from Killeen, Texas.
-Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, from Decatur, Ill.
–Electronics Technician 3rd Class, Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from Cherry Hill, N.J.
The Malacca Strait between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia is one of the world’s busiest maritime channels, accounting for some one-third of the world’s ship-borne trade, including the bulk of oil shipments to China and Japan.
Since the incident the McCain – which is named for the father and grandfather of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) – has been docked at the Changi naval base in Singapore. The collision with the tanker tore a large hole in the destroyer’s portside hull, flooding nearby compartments.
“The incident is under investigation to determine the facts and circumstances of the collision,” said a spokesman for the Yokosuka, Japan-based Seventh Fleet.
The collision came less than two months after another Arleigh Burke-class destroyer based at Yokosuka, the USS Fitzgerald, was involved in a collision with a large container ship, ACX Crystal, south of Japan. Twenty-eight sailors were able to escape from a flooded berthing compartment, but seven others drowned.
After a review found that “the collision was avoidable and both ships demonstrated poor seamanship,” the Seventh Fleet commander, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, relieved the Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief of their duties.
The McCain incident triggered in an unusual worldwide “operational pause” and review of U.S. Navy operations. Last week, Aucoin himself was relieved of his post “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the Navy said in a statement.
Aucoin was shortly to have retired, and his already-confirmed successor, Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, arrived on Friday to assume immediate command.
A day earlier, vice chief of naval operations Adm. William Moran laid out in a memorandum to Norfolk, Va.-based U.S. Fleet Forces Command what a comprehensive review of the recent incidents will look like.
The memo cited the McCain and Fitzgerald incidents and two earlier ones. The cruiser USS Antietam ran aground in Tokyo Bay last January and the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel east of the Korean peninsula in May. No one was injured in the collision and damage was minor.
After setting out the requirements of the review, Moran requested “detailed recommendations with respect to corrective actions necessary to ensure the safety of our people, safe operations at sea, and the readiness of our forces.”
“In the conduct of the review, you will seek input and insights from other services, industry, and highly qualified experts outside the services in order to ensure the widest possible perspective as we drive to the heart of the underlying issues and attack the root causes for these mishaps.”
In a message to Pacific Fleet sailors late last week, its commander Adm. Scott Swift said it had been a “very difficult” week for the Pacific Fleet and the Navy.
“In the wake of two tragic collisions, our hearts may be broken but our will remains strong. The Pacific Fleet has faced adversity before in our history, and no matter the challenge, we have overcome it,” he said.
Swift reported that in his meetings with McCain sailors and family members in Singapore, “what was very apparent to me was the toughness and the resilience that makes our sailors and families so special. They are fighters.”
“We will determine the causes of these incidents, we will learn from them and we will apply those lessons,” the admiral said. “What changes need to be made will be made.”