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2 years after the Fitzgerald and McCain collisions, the Navy has no idea if its new ship-driving training is working
Two years after a pair of deadly collisions involving Navy ships killed 17 sailors and caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage, the Navy still can't figure out whether its plan to improve ship-driving training has been effective.
In fact, according to senior Navy officials quoted in a recent Government Accountability Office report on Navy ship-driving, it could take nearly 16 years or more to know if the planned changes will actually have an impact.
Repairs have been completed on the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, which was involved in a collision in 2017 that left 10 sailors dead and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, and the vessel is now conducting "comprehensive at-sea testing," the U.S. Navy said Monday.
In its first sea voyage since the deadly accident, the Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture-based ship and its crew were due to perform a series of demonstrations to evaluate whether its onboard systems meet the U.S. Navy's minimum performance specifications.
The former captain of the destroyer USS Fitzgerald who was in command during a 2017 collision that killed seven sailors will appear before a board of inquiry that could determine if he will be reduced in rank and what kind of discharge he will receive, a Navy official said.
Cmdr. Bryce Benson was asleep in his stateroom when the Fitzgerald was struck by a merchant ship in the early hours of June 17, 2017. The Navy initially charged Benson with negligent homicide, but that charge was dismissed in June 2018 and all other charges against Benson were dropped in April, in part because top Navy leaders had repeatedly blamed him for the tragedy, running afoul of unlawful command influence.
Navy putting physical throttles on destroyers after touch-screen system contributed to deadly collision
The Navy will install physical throttles on destroyers that currently use touch screen systems nearly two years after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker, which investigators blamed partially on the ship's Integrated Bridge and Navigation System.
Ten sailors aboard the McCain were killed on Aug. 21, 2017, when the destroyer turned into an oil tanker in the Singapore Strait. The collision was the result of a series of errors by the McCain's crew that began when a watch stander mistakenly transferred steering to another station.
In the confusion that followed, only one of the McCain's two propellers was slowed, causing the McCain to turn faster into the oil tanker's path, the National Transportation Safety Board found in a recent report.
Insufficient training, severe fatigue and a lack of oversight led to a fatal 2017 Navy collision near Singapore, according to a damning new report from a government agency charged with investigating major accidents.
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board slammed the Navy for a series of failures that contributed to the August 2017 collision between the destroyer John S. McCain and Alnic MC, a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the Singapore Strait.
The accident, which tore a 28-foot hole through the McCain's hull below the waterline, was the second of two fatal Navy collisions in the region that summer. Ten McCain sailors were killed in the collision, just months after seven others died when the destroyer Fitzgerald slammed into a container ship off the coast of Japan.
"The NTSB concludes that the Navy failed to provide effective oversight of the John S McCain in the areas of bridge operating procedures, crew training, and fatigue mitigation," the report, which was released Monday, states.
The Navy has awarded fifty sailors for "their bravery and contributions to damage control efforts" after a 2017 collision between the USS John McCain and a merchant ship.
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer collided with a 600-foot oil tanker near the Strait of Malacca on Aug. 21, 2017. Ten sailors died as a result of the crash.