US Navy's 7th Fleet commander sacked after fatal accidents in the Pacific

ANADOLU AGENCY
WASHINGTON
Published 23.08.2017 20:22
In this June 18, 2017, file photo, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, speaks during a press conference, with damaged USS Fitzgerald as background at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka. (AP Photo)
In this June 18, 2017, file photo, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, speaks during a press conference, with damaged USS Fitzgerald as background at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka. (AP Photo)

The head of the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet has been relieved of command due to a "loss of confidence" following a series of deadly collisions with commercial craft, the service branch announced Wednesday.

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

Rear Admiral Phil Sawyer will assume command immediately, the Navy said in a two-sentence statement.

On Monday, the guided-missile destroyer the USS John S. McCain was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, forcing a rare pause in naval operations.

Ten soldiers are missing while five others were injured in the crash.

It was the second collision in three months in the Asia-Pacific region. The USS Fitzgerald hit a cargo ship off Japan in June, and there were two other collisions earlier this year.

Following the Monday crash, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said "this trend demands forceful action," foreshadowing Aucoin's ouster.

The Navy confirmed that some remains of missing sailors have been found in a flooded compartment aboard the USS John McCain, which is now moored at a naval base in Singapore.

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