The US Navy has announced a worldwide ‘operational pause’ of its combat ships and an investigation into the USS John McCain accident and similar ones earlier.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson announced a worldwide operational pause and a Fleet Forces led investigation to determine any links between the four incidents and how the Navy does business in Japan, USNI News reported.
Over a period of seven months, the U.S. Navy has suffered a grounding and three collisions involving warships operating in the Western Pacific. The two latest have resulted in the June 17 death of seven sailors on USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and ten missing sailors on USS John McCain (DDG-56).
“This is obviously an extremely serious incident and is the second such incident in a very short period of time, inside of three months, very similar as well, and is the last of a series of incidents in the Pacific fleet in particular, and that gives a great cause for concern that there’s something out there we’re not getting at,” Richardson was quoted by USNI News as telling reporters on Monday afternoon during a briefing at the Pentagon.
“The investigation will have a lot of different aspects to it. What have the trends been? Who’s monitoring those trends? What is the operational tempo of those units? There are a lot of different factors that go towards painting that full readiness picture which would include maintenance equipment personnel, those sorts of things,” the report said quoting Richardson.
There have been four major accidents involving US Navy ships since the beginning of this year:
On Jan. 31, FDNF guided-missile cruiser Antietam ran aground near Yokosuka, Japan damaging the ship’s propellers and dumping 1,100 gallons of hydraulic fluid into Tokyo Bay.
On May 9, guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) collided with a 65-foot South Korean fishing boat in off the Korean peninsula. Neither the fishing boat nor Lake Champlain was significantly damaged.
On June 19, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with the Philippine-flagged container ship ACX Crsytal about 50 miles off the coast of Japan. The impact bored a massive hole in the side of the ship that allowed hundreds of tons of water to pour in and killed seven sailors.
On Aug. 21, a chemical tanker collided with USS John McCain near the Straits of Malacca causing significant flooding in the ship. Five crewmembers were injured and 10 are still missing.