7th Fleet commander fired after series of fatal accidents
The U.S. Navy fired the commander of the Asia-based 7th Fleet on Wednesday “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.” Under Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin’s watch, four of the fleet’s ships suffered accidents that left them damaged and led to the deaths of 17 sailors. “While each of these four incidents is unique, they cannot be viewed in isolation,” said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Along with the change in leadership, the Navy has ordered a “deliberate reset” of all ships in the Pacific, with each vessel getting an expert assessment and new training for their crews. The evaluation will focus on navigation, mechanical systems, and bridge resource management. Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer will take Aucoin’s place. On Monday, the destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker off Singapore. Five sailors suffered injuries and 10 others are missing. Divers have located some remains but officials have not released the names of the dead. Teams are continuing to search flooded compartments of the ship. In June, seven sailors died when the destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship near Japan.
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