Navy relieves two officers of duty following deadly USS McCain crash

The collision of the USS John McCain with a merchant ship near Singapore that killed 10 sailors was preventable, the US Navy has said, after it relieved the warship's commander and his deputy from their duties. Phil Sawyer, the commander of the Navy's Seventh Fleet.

USS seventh fleet said in a statement released on Wednesday, October 11 that the commanding officer had exercised poor judgement, along with the executive officer whose leadership skills were compromised during the ship's training programme.

Commandeering officer Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez (left) and executive officer Cmdr. Both men were relieved due to a loss of confidence in their ability to command.

The USS John S McCain was east of Singapore when it collided with the oil tanker Alnic MC on 21 August.

A spate of United States naval collisions this year has resulted in a major leadership shake-up in the US Navy in Asia, as it tackles increased tensions with North Korea and engages in operations in the South China Sea that challenge Beijing's growing control of the waterway.

Ten American sailors died and five others were injured.

The August crash of the McCain came less than two months after another 7th Fleet ship, the USS Fitzgerald, another guided-missile destroyer, collided with a container ship in Tokyo Bay, leaving seven US sailors dead.

Following the collisions, the Navy dismissed commander of Seventh Fleet Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin; Task Force 70 commander Rear Adm. Charles Williams; Destroyer Squadron 15 commodore Capt. Jeffery Bennett; Fitzgerald CO Cmdr.

Navy officials ordered more sleep for crews and no more 100-hour workweeks for sailors.

Sen. John McCain, R-Az., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has called for an immediate end to US sailors working over 100 hours a week as Navy leaders grapple with growing ship collisions and worn-out crews.

"When I hear about problems like persistent lack of sleep, consistently long work hours in port, problems in basic watchstanding, and more, it's clear to me that much of the fix is with our junior leaders", he said.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer left Changi Naval Base last Thursday, more than six weeks after the crash, headed for the US Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan, where the forward-deployed ship will be repaired. Cmdr. Ed Angelinas, former commanding officer of USS McCampbell, assumed duties as acting commanding officer. Lt. Cmdr. Ray Ball, chief engineer of USS Antietam, is acting executive officer.