USS McCain Commanding Officers Relieved of Duty After Deadly Collision

Navy relieves two USS McCain officers after crash that killed 10 sailors was deemed 'preventable'

Navy relieves two USS McCain officers after crash that killed 10 sailors was deemed 'preventable'

The US Navy on Tuesday fired the USS John S. McCain's top two officers, calling the warship's deadly August collision with a merchant vessel "preventable". The collision claimed the lives of 10 sailors and injured five others.

The guided-missile destroyer's commanding officer Alfredo J. Sanchez and executive officer Jessie L. Sanchez were relieved of their duties by Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer, commander of the Pacific-based U.S. Seventh Fleet, according to a statement. Ed Angelinas, has been tapped to serve as the McCain's acting commander, the Navy said. Jessie L. Sanchez, were "relieved due to a loss of confidence", according to statement from the U.S. 7th Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, the ship's home port.

"The commanding officers exercised poor judgement, and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ship's training program", it added.

The commanding officers of the Antietam and Fitzgerald were relieved of their duties.

The McCain accident was the fourth involving a USA warship in the Pacific this year.

The McCain incident followed another collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a commercial container ship in June, which killed seven sailors.

In late August, the collisions led to the removal of Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin as the head of the Navy's Seventh Fleet.

In May, the USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing boat while operating off the east coast of the divided peninsula.

Navy officials have said that prior to the collision, the destroyer experienced a loss of steering control.

The bodies of seven U.S. sailors were found in a flooded berthing area after that collision. The results of that comprehensive review are expected to be announced in a few weeks.

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer told lawmakers a failure of leadership as well as a lack of resources contributed to the collisions.

Both officers were reassigned to shore duty, with the former captain moving to the fleet headquarters and the former executive officer assuming duties at the Ship Repair Facility, both located in Yokosuka, Japan.

"We have a problem in the Navy and we are going to fix it", Spencer said.

The Fitzgerald, meanwhile, will be taken in a similar manner to the U.S. for repairs.

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