Top officers of USS John McCain fired for 'poor judgement'


The U.S. Navy has relieved of duties the commander and executive officer of the USS John S. McCain, which collided with an oil tanker near Singapore in August.

Commanding officer Cmdr. Alfredo Sanchez and executive officer Cmdr.

"Sanchez, of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) were relieved of their duties by Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, Commander, Seventh Fleet, on October 11", said a statement from the Navy's Seventh Fleet.

Commander A. Sanchez, the McCain's captain, and his executive officer Commander J. Sanchez were reassigned to other duties in Japan, where the Seventh Fleet is headquartered, the Navy said.

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The collision tore a hole in the destroyer's left rear hull, where several sailors were inside sealed compartments on the vessel, the Associated Press reported at the time.

In late August, the collisions led to the removal of Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin as the head of the Navy's Seventh Fleet.

The McCain accident was the fourth involving a USA warship in the Pacific this year.

It followed the collision of the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship in waters off Japan in June, which killed seven sailors. Following in May, a South Korean fishing vehicle collided with a guided-missile cruiser, Lake Champlain.

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A guided-missile cruiser, Antietam had caused damage to its propellers while anchoring in Tokyo Bay in January.

Navy officials have said that prior to the collision the destroyer experienced a loss of steering control.

"We ask the sailors to do an terrible lot ... and perhaps we've asked them to do too much", Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran told the House Armed Services Committee at a hearing on the collisions in September.

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer told lawmakers a failure of leadership as well as a lack of resources contributed to the collisions. J. Sanchez was reassigned to the Ship Repair Facility at Yokosuka, home port of the 7th Fleet, the Navy said.

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