The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen after a collision, in Singapore waters, Aug. 21, 2017. (Reuters)
A U.S. Navy warship made a “sudden turn,” colliding with a commercial vessel in Singapore territorial waters and resulting in the deaths of 10 U.S. sailors, Singapore’s government said in a report Thursday.
The USS John S. McCain’s collision with an oil tanker Aug. 21 was among several mishaps in the Asia-Pacific region that involved U.S. Navy warships, Reuters reported.
Just two days after the McCain crashed, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin was relieved of his duty as commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet.
The sudden turn by the McCain — named for the grandfather and father of U.S. Sen. John S. McCain III, R-Ariz. — was from a “series of missteps” at the control of the ship, said the report from Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau, VOA News reported.
The rapid change in direction unintentionally increased the rate of the vessel’s turn, putting it in the path of the Liberian-flagged commercial vessel Alnic MC, the bureau’s report said.
But the agency report “should not be used to assign blame and determine liability,” the bureau noted.
Two months earlier, the USS Fitzgerald, another U.S. guided missile destroyer, collided with a Philippine container ship off the Japanese coast, killing seven sailors.
The commanding officers of both the USS John S. McCain and the USS Fitzgerald are facing criminal charges, including negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and endangerment of a ship, VOA News reported.
Several other officers from both ships face criminal charges or administrative actions, while several senior naval officers were fired, the report said.
Another report by Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, found the collisions were “avoidable,” VOA News reported.
A review of deadly ship collisions in the Asia-Pacific showed sailors were undertrained and overworked, Reuters reported.
The U.S. Navy subsequently announced a series of systemic reforms in hopes of restoring basic naval skills and “alertness at sea.”
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