Naval accident occurrences have been abnormally high in the last year
The US Navy has issued a worldwide “operational pause” after the second naval collision in two months. BBC reports, while traveling east of Singapore early Monday morning, the USS John S McCain was hit by a Liberian-flagged oil tanker, the Alnic MC.
The Alnic MC rammed into the port (left) side of the USS John S McCain, an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer. The US battle ship sustained damage to the port side, which was ripped open, causing flooding in parts of the ship, including crew compartments.
A search is being conducted by the US Navy and surrounding countries for 10 sailors who went missing after the collision. One body has been found, but is yet to be identified.
“Some remains” of 10 missing US sailors have been found after the collision, US Navy Adm. Scott Swift said Tuesday, according to CNN: Navy and Marine Corps divers found the remains in the sealed compartments aboard the McCain, said Swift, commander of the Pacific Fleet.
The “operational pause” was issued in light of the many recent naval collisions. This is the fourth such accident in the last year. In May a guided missile cruiser collided with a South Korean Fishing vessel and in August 2016 a submarine collided with another vessel.
Navy Admiral John Richardson, Chief of naval operations, claimed the “operational pause” would precede a comprehensive review of naval practices which lead to these incidents:
“My hope is that we will learn, continue to improve in the short term, validating that we are sound on the fundamentals and if not then we’ll take action to correct that, and then look at broader, more systemic issues that we may find through this comprehensive review,”
The pause in operations is expected to last for several days. While the reasons for this incident have not been identified, former navigator Aron Soerensen, head of maritime technology and regulation at the Baltic and International Maritime Council, believes these occurrences may stem from a reliance on technology:
“Instead of looking at the instruments, you have to look out the window to see how the situation actually evolves,” he explains. “Maybe today there’s a bit of a fixation on instruments.”
The Alnic MC suffered minor damage to one of the tanks in the bow (front) side. There was no spill of it’s contents.