Navy halts op­er­a­tions af­ter col­li­sion

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

WASH­ING­TON The Navy’s top of­fi­cer on Mon­day or­dered a pause in op­er­a­tions for op­er­a­tions around the world in the wake of the sec­ond ma­jor col­li­sion in three months of one of its front-line com­bat ships.

Adm. John Richard­son, the chief of naval op­er­a­tions, said the pause was or­dered to al­low com­man­ders to take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to keep sailors and ships safe.

Richard­son, who made the an­nounce­ment in a video mes­sage, said the lat­est col­li­sion in­volv­ing the USS John S. McCain had left him “dev­as­tated and heart­bro­ken.”

The McCain had been head­ing to Sin­ga­pore early Mon­day for a rou­tine port visit af­ter con­duct­ing a sen­si­tive free­dom-of-nav­i­ga­tion op­er­a­tion last week by sail­ing near one of China’s man-made is­lands in the South China Sea. The col­li­sion be­tween the 505-foot de­stroyer and the 600-foot oil tanker Al­nic MC ripped a gap­ing hole in the de­stroyer’s hull. Ten sailors re­main miss­ing, and five were in­jured in the lat­est of four ma­jor mishaps in­volv­ing ships in the Navy’s 7th Fleet.

The Navy’s 7th Fleet said “sig­nif­i­cant dam­age” to the McCain’s hull re­sulted in the flood­ing of ad­ja­cent com­part­ments in­clud­ing crew berths, ma­chin­ery and com­mu­ni­ca­tions rooms. A dam­age con­trol re­sponse pre­vented flood­ing, it said.

On June 17, the USS Fitzger­ald was badly dam­aged in a col­li­sion that killed seven sailors off the coast of Ja­pan.

Richard­son also or­dered a Navy-wide re­view to get at the “root causes” of the prob­lems.

Top pri­or­ity mis­sions, such as bal­lis­tic mis­sile de­fense due to ten­sions with North Ko­rea, will likely con­tinue de­spite the pause, said Bryan Clark, a se­nior fel­low at the non-par­ti­san Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Bud­getary As­sess­ments.

Since 2000, the Navy’s fleet has shrunk but de­mand for ships at sea around the world has risen, Clark said.

“Each ship is work­ing 20 per­cent more,” Clark said. fur­ther

The ini­tial re­port on the Fitzger­ald showed that sailors asleep in their berthing com­part­ment below the wa­ter line had only min­utes to es­cape. Wa­ter gushed through the 13by-17 foot gash, flood­ing the area with sea­wa­ter that was neck high within two min­utes. The ship’s list, and float­ing de­bris, hin­dered es­cape. The sailors who died were clos­est to the rup­ture in the hull.

The ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing the McCain and Fitzger­ald took place in con­gested seas with lots of ship­ping traf­fic, Clark said. The ship­ping lanes are not well de­fined.

“It’s like the on-ramp to a free­way,” he said. “There’s lots of traf­fic com­ing from dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.