US Navy to assess its fleets in a worldwide "operational pause" after deadly collision

The US Navy has ordered a worldwide "operational pause" to reassess its fleet after the deadly collision between USS John S. McCain and a merchant vessel left 10 sailors missing and five injured. This was the second major accident involving a US warship in two months.

"This trend demands more forceful action. As such, I have directed an operational pause be taken in all of our fleets around the world," Navy Admiral John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said in a statement. "I want our fleet commanders to get together with their leaders and their commands to ensure that we are taking all appropriate and immediate actions to ensure safe and effective operations around the world," he added.

Photo released by Royal Malaysian Navy, purportedly showing the damage to American guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain DDG 56 when it collided with Liberian merchant vessel Alnic MC early morning on 21 August. Photo courtesy: Royal Malaysian Navy
Photo released by Royal Malaysian Navy, purportedly showing the damage to American guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain DDG 56 when it collided with Liberian merchant vessel Alnic MC early morning on 21 August. Photo courtesy: Royal Malaysian Navy

"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," said Richardson. 

The review would come in addition to ongoing investigations into the two collisions – that of the USS McCain, and the destroyer USS Fitzgerald two months earlier off Japan that left seven American sailors dead.

Naval analysts said the accidents might be a sign of crew fatigue among the US Navy in the Pacific, as it seeks to combat Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Author
Kareyst Lin
Kareyst Lin – Senior Writer

Kareyst has experience in writing about B2B technology for Computerworld Singapore, MIS Asia and CIO Asia; and on government technology for GCIO Asia. Her pet areas are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities - these are fueled by her obsession with sci-fi movies and philosophy of mind. 

Sometimes she writes with light. 

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