Commander of United States fleet to be relieved after collisions

Pablo Tucker
August 24, 2017

The U.S. Navy will in the coming hours relieve the three-star admiral Joseph Aucoin who commands its seventh fleet following a series of collisions in Asia.

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin has been in post since September 2015.

US Navy and Marine Corps divers found the remains in the sealed compartments aboard the McCain after it docked at a naval base in Singapore, said Swift.

It was the second fatal collision in two months - after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged cargo ship off Japan in June and left seven sailors dead - and the fourth accident in the Pacific this year involving an American warship.

It was at least the third such incident this summer, following the collision of the destroyer USS Fitzgerald with a merchant container vessel off Tokyo and the collision of the cruiser USS Lake Champlain with a fishing vessel off the Korean Peninsula.


Speaking shortly after that incident, Aucoin told reporters, alongside the ship at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, that the loss of sailors under his command "is something we all feel".

Adm. Swift says they're still hopeful they will find survivors. Seven US sailors died, including another CT resident. Ships and planes continue to scour the seas east of Singapore.

The Navy last week said the Fitzgerald's captain was being relieved of his command and other sailors were being punished after poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch were found to have contributed to its collision.

The Fox News story reports that some military analysts suspect that cyber sabotage played a part in the recent Navy ship collisions.

"I also visited with the crew today, and they are tough and they are resilient", Swift said.


April Brandon in MI said the military informed her that her son, Ken Smith, is missing.

But he noted that the investigation was in its earliest stages and said, "We are not taking any consideration off the table". A 5th Sailor was evacuated after the ship got to port in Singapore.

The collision involving the USS McCain is just the latest in a string of mishaps for the U.S. Navy that have taken place in the Pacific.

While diving proceeds, vessels and aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy are engaged in search and rescue activities at sea along with U.S. Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopters from amphibious assault ship USS America.


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