USA admiral says remains found inside damaged destroyer

Phillip Butler
August 24, 2017

Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, has relieved Seventh Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin from his duties.

The development comes after USS John McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, collided with an oil tanker on Monday, 21 August, leaving 10 sailors missing.

The Seventh Fleet, headquartered at Yokosuka in Japan, is the centrepiece of the U.S. military presence in Asia, undertaking sensitive missions such as operations in the South China Sea and around the Korean peninsula.

Navy Vice Admiral Aucoin was removed on Wednesday - two days after the USS John S McCain was damaged in a collision with an oil tanker.

Aucoin has been in command of the 7th Fleet since September 2015.

Aucoin was due to step down next month, with Phillip Sawyer, deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet and a submariner by trade, slated to succeed him. U.S. military divers continue to search the flooded areas of the McCain. Ships and planes continue to scour the seas east of Singapore.

"We owe it to sailors that man Seventh Fleet and their families to answer the questions that flow from the uncertainty of what happened", said Swift, the head of U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The White House expressed its "great sadness" about the incident. Around 10 soldiers were reported to be missing in the incident and a number of remains of the soldiers were found in a compartment of the vessel. President Donald Trump plans to grow the Navy's fleet from 274 ships to 350. "We want to do everything we can to help them manage the stress of this tragic event".


Navy officials declined to comment Tuesday night.

The flooding was halted, but the extent of the damage is still being determined, according to Swift, who said a full investigation of the event would be undertaken.

On Tuesday, CNN reported that a steering malfunction may have occurred before the McCain crashed.

"While each of these four incidents is unique, they can not be viewed in isolation", Swift said.

It was the second collision in three months in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Navigating a ship in a shipping channel is a manual operation. It's a training procedure issue and a watch qualification issue", he said.

Following the McCain collision, the Navy said that it would put an "operational pause" on all Navy vessels and ordered a broad investigation.

Sources tell CBN News the pause is a one-day safety stand-down that will be done over the course of a couple weeks and at the discretion of individual commands.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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