A top admiral on Monday ordered a one-day shut down of 7th Fleet activities so the Navy could take “forceful action” and have a greater look at two recent accidents involving its ships in the Pacific.
Adm. John Richardson, chief of Naval operations, said a massive investigation was necessary, following Monday’s crash of the USS John S. McCain with a oil tanker near Singapore and the deadly June wreck between the USS Fitzgerald and a merchant ship near Japan.
Ten sailors remained missing from the USS John S. McCain accident on Monday.
Richardson ordered an “operational pause” across the 7th Fleet, so to evaluate all training and certification procedures.
“This is the second major collision in the last three months, and is the latest in a series of major incidents, particularly in the Pacific theater,” said Richardson. “This trend demands more forceful action.”
In a video statement, Richardson said the immediate, system-wide probe was necessary to ensure safety of all those aboard 7th Fleet ships.
“I want our fleet commanders to get together with their leaders and their commands to ensure we’re taking all appropriate and immediate actions to ensure safe and effective operations around the world,” Richardson said.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said said he backs Richardson’s move.
“He has put together a broader inquiry to look into these incidents,” Mattis said.
The Navy was still in search-and-rescue mode on Monday looking for the 10 missing sailors off the Yokosuka-based guided-missile destroyer which was headed to Singapore.
The crash happened at 5:24 a.m. on Monday, Singapore time, or 5:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, officials said.