U.S. Navy Taking ‘Operational Pause’ After Pair of Collisions at Sea

The halt follows incidents involving destroyers USS Fitzgerald, USS John S. McCain.

August 22, 2017 9:24 am
U.S. Navy Announces 'Operational Pause' Following Pair of Collisions at Sea
The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, with a hole on its portside after a collision with an oil tanker, makes its way to Changi naval base in Singapore on August 21, 2017. Ten US sailors were missing and five injured after their destroyer collided with a tanker east of Singapore early Monday, the second accident involving an American warship in two months. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

After a U.S. Navy destroyer weathered a collision at sea yesterday—the second in three months and fourth in a little over a year—the Navy’s going back to the drawing board. At least temporarily.

In a video statement, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson, said that “this trend demands more forceful action. As such, I’ve directed an operational pause be taken in all our fleets around the world.” That will include an all-encompassing review by the Navy’s leaders of their commands and crews, as well as examining operational and safety procedures.

The Navy won’t be merely taking an “operational pause,” though, noted Admiral Richardson; there will also be an official review over a longer period, during which he said the Navy would look into the “root causes of these incidents”—including how sailors are trained and certified. Admiral Richardson said he had appointed Admiral Philip S. Davidson to head up the investigation.

At press time, Navy aircraft were still searching off the coast of Singapore for 10 missing sailors, who were aboard the USS John S. McCain when it collided with an oil tanker yesterday.

This follows the collision in June of the USS Fitzgerald with a cargo ship in Japanese waters. As the Navy announced on Aug. 17, three top officials—the commanding officer, executive officer, and command master chief—were all relieved of their duties following the incident.

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