Top Admiral Suspends US Navy Fleet Operations Worldwide Following Devastating Crashes

REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The chief of naval operations has ordered an “pause” on global fleet operations in the wake of a string of destructive collisions.

The USS John S. McCain, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, was involved in a collision with the Alnic MC, an oil tanker more than three times the size of the American warship. Five sailors were injured with ten others reported missing after the huge merchant vessel punched a hole in the side of the destroyer early Monday morning. (RELATED: Here’s What We Know So Far About The US Navy’s Latest Crash).

Monday’s collision follows an accident in June in which the USS Fitzgerald, another 7th Fleet Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, collided with the ACX Crystal, a container vessel several times larger than the American ship. Seven sailors were killed in the incident, which was ultimately attributed to “poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch,” according to a report from the Associated Press.

“This trend demands more forceful action,” Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said in a video released online. “I have directed an operational pause be taken in all of our fleets around the world.”

“I want our fleet commanders to get together with their leaders and their commands to ensure that we’re taking all appropriate immediate actions to ensure safe and effective operations around the world,” he further explained.

“In addition to that operational pause, I have directed a more comprehensive review to ensure that we get at the contributing factors, the root causes, of these incidents,” Richardson added, “This review is in addition to the investigations that are looking into the details of the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and, now, the USS John S. McCain.” Beyond the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John McCain, the U.S. Navy has also had other problems maritime collisions, plane crashes, and ships running aground.

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