Navy fires commander of 7th Fleet after deadly USS McCain collision

Posted August 24, 2017

The official told Reuters that Admiral Scott Swift, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, would relieve Aucoin, a three-star admiral, when the two meet in Japan later on Wednesday.

In May, the USS Lake Champlain hit a fishing boat off the Korean Peninsula.

The Navy last week said the Fitzgerald's captain was being relieved of his command and other sailors were being punished after poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch were found to have contributed to its collision. The Navy said the ship suffered "significant damage" to its hull, flooding crew berths, machinery and communications rooms.

A captain becomes overconfident to the point of complacency, inured to risks that he should take more seriously.

"There was a fog on the bridge, a sort of zero-defect mentality that conveyed 'don't say anything or the CO would get upset, '" as one officer on the Antietam later told investigators.

The search for the sailors is still underway, but it seems increasingly unlikely that the sailors survived. The commanding officer was sacked and other crew members reprimanded. The Seventh Fleet has had four separate accidents in 2017 with two causing loss of lives.

An official newspaper in China said the latest collision made the USA an increasing risk to shipping in Asia. Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, has a small group of employees in Yokosuka, the 7th Fleet headquarters, to assist with periodic ship maintenance and upgrades, Hench said. The Navy has improved on maintenance since the report, but training is still lacking, said Jerry Hendrix, a former Navy officer and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C.

The 7th Fleet said in a statement Wednesday that Navy and Marine Corps divers are continuing to search flooded compartments in the McCain in the hope of locating more of the missing sailors. Richardson's task now is to determine whether all that hasn't been enough, or it hasn't actually been filtering all the way down to the fleet, or what else he might not know about the workings of today's fleet. He had commanded the fleet since September 2015.

The US Navy's guided missile destroyer was underway east of the Straits of Malacca early in the morning, local time, on 21 August, heading for a routine port stop in Singapore when it collided with the Alnic MC tanker.

Richardson also ordered an investigation into how the U.S. Navy prepares its ships and crews for operations in the Pacific: "This will include, but not be limited to, looking at operational tempo, trends in personnel, materiel, maintenance and equipment".