US Navy says Singapore collision was “preventable”

Top two commanding officers of guided-missile destroyer also relieved of their duties.

The US Navy has said the collision between one of its guided-missile destroyers and a products tanker was “preventable”.

“While the investigation is ongoing, it is evident the collision was preventable, the commanding officer exercised poor judgement and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ship’s training program,” the US Navy said.

The ship’s commanding officer, Commander Alfredo J. Sanchez, and executive officer, Commander Jessie L Sanchez, have since been relieved of their duties.

The John S. McCain was involved in a collision with Stealth Maritime’s 50,800-dwt tanker Alnic MC (built 2008) while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on 21 August.

Ten US Navy sailors were killed in the incident and another five were injured, while the ship suffered significant damage to her port side aft.

Over the weekend the John S McCain was loaded aboard the Dockwise heavy lift vessel 53,818-dwt Treasure (built 1990) off Tuas.

The ship is being taken to a US repair base in Yokosuka, Japan. In the weeks prior to departure from Singapore a patch has been installed over damaged sections of the hull to restore watertight integrity.