Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio said he was praying “for the deceased, injured, and remaining members of the crew of the USS John S. McCain,” after the guided missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker.
“We pray for the repose of their souls and for the families who mourn such a tragic loss,” said Broglio, who heads the Archdiocese for the Military Services.
The archdiocese said that about 210 Catholic priests are currently on active duty in the U.S. armed forces. About four dozen of those priests serve in the Navy.
The McCain docked in Singapore on Monday with significant damage, and the Navy said hull damage had flooded several compartments, including crew berths.
Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia are assisting the United States in the search for ten sailors who are missing after the accident. Five others were taken to the hospital in Singapore with non-life-threatening injuries.
In his statement, Broglio said, “Mindful of those who defend the nation in troubled times and in danger, we renew our prayers for a just and lasting peace in the world.”
According to Singapore, the tanker – a Liberian-flagged ship called the Alnic – sustained damage 23 feet above its waterline, and no one was injured on the civilian craft. So far, there have been no reports of pollution to the Singapore Strait.
Stealth Maritime Corporation, the Greek company which owns the tanker issued a statement saying it “is cooperating fully with the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in its investigations as well as other responding agencies.”
The company said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the missing U.S. Navy sailors and we hope the injured personnel make a speedy and full recovery.”
The McCain is named for the father and grandfather of Senator John S. McCain III, both of whom served in World War II.
“Cindy & I are keeping America’s sailors aboard the USS John McCain in our prayers tonight – appreciate the work of search & rescue crews,” the Arizona Senator said on Twitter.
The collision is the second involving a U.S. Naval vessel this summer.
On June 17, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with MV ACX Crystal – a container ship – killing seven U.S. sailors.
Meanwhile, on August 5 three Marines were killed when their MV-22 Osprey went down in the Coral Sea while trying to land on a Navy ship.