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Destroyer, Merchant Ship Collide, 1 Sailor Dead

November 12, 1989

HONOLULU (AP) _ A U.S. Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship off Malaysia Sunday, killing one American sailor and injuring four shipmates, a Navy spokesman said.

It was the sixth accident involving a Navy ship in the last two weeks. Seven personnel have been killed or lost at sea and 16 injured in the string of accidents.

Several fires broke out aboard the destroyer USS Kinkaid and the Singapore vessel Kota Petani when they collided at 5:19 a.m. Sunday local time in the Malacca Strait, said Lt. Cmdr. Bob Anderson, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet in Honolulu.

The fires aboard the San Diego-based destroyer were quickly contained, and the crew of the Kinkaid and the frigate USS Rentz helped douse the flames aboard the Kota Petani, Anderson said. No injuries were reported aboard the merchant vessel, which sustained major damage to its bow, he said.

The crash took place about 240 miles northwest of Singapore in the strait that runs between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, connecting the South China Sea and the Andaman Sea.

The names of the dead and injured were being withheld until their relatives could be notified, Anderson said.

The cause of the collision was under investigation, Anderson said.

The destroyer carries 20 officers and 297 enlisted personnel, Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Camille Estrada said in Washington.

The accident was the latest in a series aboard Navy vessels during the past two weeks. The others:

-On Oct. 29, when a training jet crashed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington in the Gulf of Mexico, killing the pilot and four sailors on the ship.

-On Nov. 1, nine sailors suffered smoke inhalation and four of those were treated for burns following an early morning fire in a boiler aboard the USS Monongahela, some 500 miles west of Gibraltar.

- On Oct. 31, three sailors and a reported $4 million worth of non-nuclear missiles were swept by a wave from the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower near Cape Hatteras, N.C. One sailor was missing and presumed dead.

- On Oct. 30, a sailor aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson fell into the Pacific about 620 miles north of Wake Island and was presumed lost. - Also on Oct. 30, a F/A-18 pilot dropped a 500-pound bomb on the guided missile cruiser USS Reeves in the Indian Ocean, causing minor injuries to five sailors and blowing a five-foot hole in the ship’s bow.

Before Sunday’s accident, the Navy had said there had been 101 ″operation and training related″ fatalities throughout the service since the beginning of the year. That figure included 47 deaths in an explosion on board the USS Iowa on April 19.

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