Hishammuddin: Malaysian Navy to continue SAR operation for USS McCain sailors
KLUANG, Aug 26 ― The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) will continue the search and rescue (SAR) operation for the missing crew of a United States guided-missile destroyer, USS John S. Mccain, in the eastern Johor waters, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
He said the efforts in assisting the US were due to the bilateral ties between the two countries, particularly in defence diplomacy.
“This matter (SAR operation) has been raised in the Cabinet meeting… I have asked for the Cabinet’s approval to enable the SAR (operation) to continue until the (missing) victims are located.
“I have also met with the US Pacific Fleet commander, Admiral Scott Swift recently and they (the US) highly appreciate our efforts,” he told reporters at the Sembrong Umno Division delegates’ conference here today.
In fact, Hishammuddin said a total of 26 countries had come forward to help Malaysia during the MH370 and MH17 incidents.
“As such, there is no reason for us to exclude ourselves from assisting the US when they are dealing with such an incident,” he said.
Hishammuddin, who is also Sembrong Member of Parliament, said RMN has close ties with the US Navy and that there was no issue for the RMN to help in the SAR operation although the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) had called off the search.
Yesterday, MMEA director-general Admiral (Maritime) Datuk Zulkifli Abu Bakar said the search was halted following an announcement from the US Navy Seventh Fleet Public Affairs Office, that said the US Navy wanted to focus on a search in the flooded compartments of the vessel.
USS John S. McCain destroyer and Liberian registered merchant vessel, Alnic MC reportedly collided 4.5 nautical miles off the Ramunia Bay about 5.40am, causing five crew members to be injured, while another 10 are reported missing. ― Bernama