DN - Defence Notes

US Navy commanders face negligent homicide charges

17th January 2018 - 12:01 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Washington DC

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The commanders of two US Navy ships involved in collisions that left 17 sailors dead face charges including negligent homicide and dereliction of duty, the US Navy announced on 16 January.

The USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in August 2017, killing 10 sailors, while USS Fitzgerald smashed into a cargo ship in June, leaving seven dead.

According to the US Navy, court martial proceedings and hearings are being convened to review evidence supporting possible criminal charges against Fitzgerald members, as well as the commander of the John S. McCain.

The commanding officer, two lieutenants and a lieutenant junior grade from the Fitzgerald and the commander of the John S. McCain face charges including dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide.

The collisions highlighted leadership failures and the stresses of frequent deployments across the Pacific region, but also shined a spotlight on sailors not paying proper attention in busy shipping lanes.

ADM John Richardson, chief of US naval operations, said: ‘Both of these accidents were preventable and the respective investigations found multiple failures by watch standers that contributed to the incidents.’

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