US Navy Says Deadly McCain Collision Was Preventable, Relieves Ship Commander

TOKYO—The collision of the USS John S.McCain guided missile destroyer with a merchant ship near Singapore in August that killed 10 sailors was preventable, the U.S. Navy said after it relieved the warship’s commander and his deputy from their duties.

“The commanding officer exercised poor judgment, and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ship’s training program,” the USS Seventh Fleet said in a statement released in Japan on Wednesday.

A spate of U.S. naval collisions this year has resulted in a major leadership shake up in the U.S. Navy in Asia as it tackles increased tensions with North Korea and engages in operations in the South China Sea that challenge Beijing’s growing control of the waterway.

Personnel work on the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain after a collision, in Singapore waters on Aug. 21, 2017. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood/File Photo)

The U.S. Navy in August ordered a fleet wide probe and removed Seventh Fleet chief Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, citing a lack of confidence in his ability to command.

Last month Admiral Scott Swift, responsible for U.S. naval forces in the Pacific, said he plans to retire after being passed over for promotion to the chief of all military forces in the region.

The McCain’s sister ship, the Fitzgerald, almost sank off the coast of Japan in June after colliding with a Philippine container ship. That incident claimed the lives of seven U.S. sailors.

In May, a South Korean fishing vessel collided with the guided-missile cruiser Lake Champlain, while another guided-missile cruiser, Antietam, damaged its propellers in January while anchoring in Tokyo Bay.

The McCain’s captain, Commander A. Sanchez, and his executive officer, Commander J. Sanchez, were reassigned to other duties in Japan, where the Seventh Fleet is headquartered, the Navy said.

(L): Commander Alfredo J. Sanchez, commanding officer of U.S.S. McCain; (R): Commander Jessie L. Sanchez. executive officer of U.S.S. McCain. (U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

The Seventh Fleet operates as many as 70 ships, including the U.S. navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, and has about 140 aircraft and 20,000 sailors.

Reuters

 
 
 
RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

Fashion Illustration Series #2: Im Yoon-ah

Fashion Illustration Series #2: Im Yoon-ah
READ MORE >
 
 

US, Japan, South Korea to Hold Missile Tracking Drill Amid North Korea Crisis

US, Japan, South Korea to Hold Missile Tracking Drill Amid North Korea Crisis
The United States, Japan and South Korea will hold two days of missile tracking drills starting on Monday, Japan's Maritime ...
READ MORE >
 

Kim Jong Un Releases Propaganda Photo of Him ‘Climbing’ Sacred Mountain

Kim Jong Un Releases Propaganda Photo of Him ‘Climbing’ Sacred Mountain
North Korea published a series of propaganda photos, claiming that dictator Kim Jong Un climbed a 9,000-foot-tall snow-packed ...
READ MORE >
 

Trump Demands, Gets Apology From Washington Post Reporter

Trump Demands, Gets Apology From Washington Post Reporter
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—President Donald Trump has demanded and received an apology from a Washington Post reporter over ...
READ MORE >
 

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Premieres With Tribute to Late Carrie Fisher

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Premieres With Tribute to Late Carrie Fisher
Los Angeles—The galaxy far, far away was brought to life in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday for the ...
READ MORE >
 

Dine at the Michelin 3-Star Cantonese Restaurant One of 4 in the World

Dine at the Michelin 3-Star Cantonese Restaurant One of 4 in the World
Hong Kong, a tightly packed metropolis, has a whopping 14,000 restaurants! Hard to pick one? Go around and ...
READ MORE >