US Navy orders worldwide ‘operational pause’ after warship crashes off Singapore

22 August 2017
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The US Navy has ordered a “worldwide operational pause” after a warship crashed into a merchant vessel in Singapore.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson called for the one-day pause for a safety review to be carried out over the next few weeks within the separate commands.

The USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker off the coast of the Asian island in the early morning of 21 August resulting in five injuries and 10 missing sailors.

It comes just a few months after the USS Fitzgerald’s collision with a container ship on 17 June 2017. Seven sailors were killed in that crash, some as young as 19 years of age.

It is the fourth accident to happen involving the US Navy in the Pacific theatre, which prompted Mr Richardson to say in a statement that the Navy needs to “ensure we are taking all appropriate immediate measures to enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operation around the world.”

The Navy will “examine the process by which we train and certify our forward deployed forces in Japan to be ready for operations and war,” according to Mr Richardson’s statement.

Among the issues to be reviewed are career development of sailors, maintenance procedures, equipment, as well as “tactical and navigational proficiency”.

The review will not only be conducted by officers and the enlisted but outside experts from the private sector.
The search for the 10 missing soldiers from the USS McCain continues off the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia and further out in the ocean.

All others on board were either taken to hospital or safely made it back to port from the guided missile destroyer that had visible damage – a large dent in the left side – as it docked on its own power at Changi Naval Base in Singapore.

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