U.S. destroyer McCain collision which killed 10 sailors caused by 'sudden turn': Singapore

The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen after a collision, in Singapore waters August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Thomson Reuters

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A U.S. guided missile destroyer's deadly collision with an oil tanker near Singapore in 2017 was caused by "a sudden turn" made by the warship that put it in the path of the commercial vessel, said a report by the Singapore government on Thursday.

The collision on Aug. 21, which killed 10 sailors and was one of a handful of incidents in the Asia Pacific region involving U.S. Navy warships, raised questions about Navy training and led to the removal of a number of officers.

"The collision between the USS John S McCain (JSM) and Alnic MC (AM) as they were transiting through the Singapore Strait happened because of a sudden turn to Port by JSM, which caused it to head into the path of AM," the report said.

The sudden turn was due to "a series of missteps" that took place at the control of the John S. McCain that unintentionally increased the rate of the vessel's turn, the report by the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau said.

The agency is the air and marine accident investigative arm of the Singapore government. It said its report "should not be used to assign blame or determine liability".

The John S McCain's sister ship, guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, almost sank off the coast of Japan in June last year after colliding with a Philippine container ship. The bodies of seven U.S. sailors were recovered after that incident.

The U.S. Navy subsequently announced a series of systemic reforms aimed at restoring basic naval skills and alertness at sea after a review of deadly ship collisions in the Asia-Pacific showed sailors were under-trained and over-worked.



(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Michael Perry)

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