US Navy To Relieve 7th Fleet Commander After Series Of Deadly Collisions

Alan Olson
August 24, 2017

Divers on Tuesday found remains of missing American sailors in the flooded compartments of the Navy destroyer, said Admiral Scott H. Swift, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet.

Joseph Aucoin, the three-star commander of the usa 7th Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, is reportedly being relieved of duty, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing officials who pointed to a series of ship collisions and the deaths of several Navy sailors under his command.

The collision comes two months after the USS Fitzgerald's deadly collision with a container ship that killed seven sailors.

Swift said that, while there were "no indications of that as of yet ... we are not taking any consideration off the table and every scenario will be reviewed and investigated in detail".

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson ordered an "operational pause" for ships across the world and a specific review for those posted in the Western Pacific.

"We have discovered other bodies during the diving on [USS John S] McCain today, but it's premature to say how many and what the status of the recovery of those bodies is", Admiral Swift went on to say.

The Navy has shrunk the size of its overall fleet by 20 percent since 2000, putting a strain on remaining ships and crews, he said.

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Navy leaders said they were taking those insights to heart - adding sailors back to crews, renewing their focus on training and competence. And the USS Fitzgerald was struck off the coast of Japan on June 17 by a much heavier container ship, the Philippine-flagged MV ACX Crystal, killing seven us seamen.

It operates over an area of 124 million square kilometres from bases in Japan, South Korea and Singapore. Hours later, USS John S McCain sailed into port at Changi Naval Base under its own power after damage control efforts by the crew halted flooding on board.

Jacob Drake, 21, of North Lewisburg, Ohio, was among the missing, according to a cousin, Brandie Roberts. Brandon said, "His father and I couldn't be prouder of our son".

"The concern the Navy has is that the Japan force, because it is the most highly stressed, is the canary in the coal mine", he said.

The McCain and the tanker ship collided Monday east of the Malacca Strait, the fourth time a U.S. warship has been involved in an accident in Asian waters this year. The Navy previously said there was no evidence it was intentional, or that it was a result of sabotage or cyberintrusion.

A senior admiral announced last week that the commander of the destroyer and several other officers had been relieved of their duties aboard their ship over the incident.

The interference - known as "spoofing", which disrupts Global Positioning System signals so ships' instruments show inaccurate locations - caused some 20 vessels to have their signals disrupted, according to reports.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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