The Daily Manila Shimbun


US Navy concludes fatal collisions off Japan, Singapore were avoidable

November 2, 2017

Fatal collisions involving US Aegis destroyers off Japan and Singapore earlier this year were "avoidable," the US Navy said in an investigation report on Wednesday, pointing to their crews' errors and lack of sufficient training.

Seven of the USS Fitzgerald's crew were killed in the collision with a container vessel off the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, in June, and 10 of the USS John S. McCain's crew died in the collision with a merchant ship off Singapore in August.

According to the report, the Fitzgerald was "not operated at a safe speed" and "failed to maneuver early" to avoid the collision. Its officers had "an unsatisfactory level of knowledge" about international navigation rules, and watch team members were "not familiar with basic radar fundamentals," the report said.

The John S. McCain's collision was attributed to its crew's poor ship controlling skills and lack of procedural compliance.

"Both of these accidents were preventable and the respective investigations found multiple failures by watch standers that contributed to the incidents," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said in a statement.

"The Navy is firmly committed to doing everything possible to prevent an accident like this from happening again," Richardson said.

Over the incidents, the Navy has replaced the commander of its 7th Fleet, to which the two warships belong. The fleet is based in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo.
Jiji Press

TOKYO- This US Navy file handout photo released August 18, 2017 shows the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) sitting in Dry Dock 4 at Fleet Activities Yokosuka on July 13, 2017 to continue repairs and assess damage sustained from its June 17, 2017 collision with a merchant vessel.

A pair of collisions in the Pacific that left American 17 sailors dead were avoidable and caused by "multiple failures" of those on watch, the Navy said in a report on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. The separate incidents have highlighted leadership failures and the stresses of frequent deployments across the Pacific region, but also have shone a spotlight on sailors not paying proper attention in busy shipping lanes. Jiji Press