Navy Takes A Pause After USS McCain Collision
The head of the Navy ordered a rare operational pause after a second U.S. destroyer collided with a freighter in Asian waters this summer.
The USS John McCain hit the merchant vessel Alnic MC outside of Singapore, Monday local time. The Navy is still searching for 10 sailors missing since the disaster.
This the latest in a string of mishaps in the Pacific. Last week, the leadership of the USS Fitzgerald was relieved of command after their destroyer collided with a freighter on June 17, just outside of Japan.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson pointed to two more incidents in recent months as he declared an operational pause for U.S. naval vessels worldwide. He announced his decision Monday in a video released on Facebook.
“I’ve directed an operational pause be directed in all of our fleets around the world," Richardson said. "I want our fleet commanders to get together with their leaders and their commands to ensure that we’re taking all appropriate, immediate action to ensure safe and effective operations around the world.”
Richardson told reporters in Washington, D.C., that commanders should look at issues such as the way the Navy develops ship drivers and the operational tempo of the Pacific fleet. The Pacific has become one of the busiest areas in the world for the U.S. Navy. The 7th Fleet includes the South China Sea and the waters off North Korea.
Richardson is asking commanders to look at trends in personnel, maintenance and equipment.
The 24-hour pause is expected to happen on a rolling basis over the next couple of weeks, depending on the discretion of commanders. Richardson said he wants to get at the “root causes” of these mishaps. The pause is coupled with a long-term review of naval operations chaired by the head of Fleet Forces Command.