Iran Press TV

US warships involved in collisions in Asia failed key training: Report

Iran Press TV

Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:21PM

The crew on board the two US Navy warships, USS John McCain and USS Fitzgerald, which were involved in deadly clashes in Asia earlier this year, had failed key training missions, according to new data.

The US Navy's Japan-based 7th Fleet has lost 17 of its sailors in two separate collisions over the past months.

Last month, the USS McCain guided-missile destroyer collided with a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the entrance to the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. The collision killed 10 sailors and injured five others.

The incident came nearly two months after seven US Navy sailors lost their lives on board the USS Fitzgerald, another guided-missile destroyer of the 7th Fleet, as the warship crashed into a container ship south of Japan.

Last week, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed in a report to Congress that the warships' crew lacked adequate training.

New details from the GAO report showed that the USS Fitzgerald's training certification for 10 out of 10 key warfare mission areas in June had all expired. The USS McCain had a slightly better record by letting six out of 10 certifications lapse, CNN reported Monday.

This was not the report's most terrifying finding. According to CNN, which viewed the GAO report, the expired training certifications for the 11 US Navy cruisers and destroyers in Japan had risen five-fold from 7 percent in January 2015 to 37 percent in June.

US Navy officials have blasted the report, accusing GAO of providing inaccurate records by tracking only half of the 22 certifications that each warship needs.

This is while the Navy has rejected calls to release all certifications for the two destroyers involved in the collisions, citing ongoing investigations.

The two deadly incidents, which badly damaged the US Navy's reputation, prompted American military officials to remove the 7th Fleet's commander, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin.

US Navy vessels were involved in two more collisions in Asia this year. In January, the USS Antietam ran aground near its base in Japan, and in May, the USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel.

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