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

Navy relieves of duties top officers of USS John S. McCain after collision

USS McCain Commanding Officers Relieved of Duty After Deadly Collision

The U.S. Navy has relieved the USS John S. McCain's top two officers for a "loss of confidence" following the deadly collision in August that killed 10 sailors.

In June, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship off Japan, killing seven USA sailors.

Sanchez, the executive officer, were said to have exercised poor "judgement" and "leadership", respectively, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement.

Commander A. Sanchez, the McCain's captain, and his executive officer Commander J. Sanchez were reassigned to other duties in Japan, where the Seventh Fleet is headquartered, the Navy said. Ten American Sailors died and five others were injured.

The cause of the August 21 collision is still under investigation, but the USA navy described it as "preventable".

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. Following that collision, the ship's commanding officer, executive officer and senior enlisted sailor were also relieved of their duties for a similar loss of confidence.

Last month, Admiral Scott Smith announced his retirement from Command of the Pacific Fleet after two separate collisions caused the deaths of 17 sailors, in total.

"We ask the sailors to do an terrible lot ... and perhaps we've asked them to do too much", Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran told the House Armed Services Committee at a hearing on the collisions in September. Sanchez was reassigned to Ship Repair Facility, Yokosuka. Alfredo Sanchez, and executive officer, Cmdr.

Cmdr. Ed Angelinas, former commanding officer of USS McCampbell, assumed duties as acting commanding officer.

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