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Report: USS Essex Officers’ Lack Of Leadership To Blame For Collision

Aired 8/31/12 on KPBS News.

A Navy investigation into the collision of the San Diego-based USS Essex with another vessel in May finds 'chaos' aboard the Essex, caused by a lack of clear direction from the bridge, was to blame for the accident.

USS Essex
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Above: USS Essex

A Navy investigation into the collision of the San Diego-based USS Essex with another vessel in May finds 'chaos' aboard the Essex, caused by a lack of clear direction from the bridge, was to blame for the accident.

According to the Stars and Stripes:

[W]ith orders coming from multiple people in multiple directions, the crew did not know who was saying what or whom to obey.

The Navy is recommending administrative action against four officers: ship’s executive officer, helm safety officer, conning officer, and officer of the deck.

The USS Essex collided with the USNS Yukon off the coast of Southern California the morning of May 16th. No one was injured in the collision, although both ships sustained damage.

In June, the Navy fired Capt. Chuck Litchfield for “loss of confidence in his ability to command" after an initial investigation into the collision.

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