A top admiral has said that the US Navy will ‘consider’ whether two fatal collisions this summer could have been the result of a cyber attack.
Admiral John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said on Monday that there were ‘no indications right now’ that the two ships were hacked, but added investigators ‘will consider all possibilities’.
From The Daily Mail
The shocking possibility emerged as the Navy ordered a broad investigation into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet.
Early Monday, the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 American sailors missing and several others injured.
It was the second major collision in the last two months involving the Navy’s 7th Fleet, after seven sailors died when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided in waters off Japan on June 17.
Early Tuesday, three navies were hunting desperately for the McCain’s 10 missing sailors as the search and rescue mission dragged into a second day.
As part of an ongoing investigation into the USS Fitzgerald incident the Captain, the Executive Officer and Master Chief Petty Officer were removed from duty last week.
‘The collision was avoidable, and both ships demonstrated poor seamanship,’ the Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement, noting that ‘flawed’ teamwork among those assigned to keep watch contributed to the collision.
The Navy said the three had shown ‘inadequate leadership.’ Separately, seven junior officers were relieved of their duties because they had shown ‘poor seamanship’ and bad teamwork, 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Clay Doss said on Friday.
Meanwhile , aircraft from the USS America and ships and aircraft from the navies of Malaysia and Singapore were focusing their search for the missing 10 sailors from the USS John S. McCain on an area east of the city-state where the two vessels collided early the day before at an approach to a busy shipping lane.
The McCain is now docked at Singapore’s naval base. The 7th Fleet said the McCain’s crew is emptying compartments that flooded when the collision ruptured its hull.
Richardson will call for a pause in operations and seek a deeper look at how the Navy trains and certifies its forces that are operating around Japan, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday.
‘He has put together a broader inquiry to look into these incidents,’ Mattis said, referring to the two recent collisions and other accidents at sea.
Mattis spoke to reporters in Amman, Jordan, where he is traveling.
Vessels and aircraft from the US, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia are currently searching for the 10 missing sailors.
Four other sailors were evacuated by a Singaporean navy helicopter to a hospital in the city-state for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. A fifth was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the destroyer arrived in Singapore under its own power.
There was no immediate explanation for the collision.
Singapore, at the southernmost tip of the Malay Peninsula, is one of the world’s busiest ports and a US ally, with its naval base regularly visited by American warships.
The McCain had been heading to Singapore on 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 east of Singapore between the 505-foot destroyer guided missile destroyer and the 600-foot Alnic MC ripped a gaping hole in the destroyer’s hull.
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 further flooding.
The destroyer was damaged on its port side aft, or left rear, in the 5.24am collision about 4.5 nautical miles from Malaysia’s coast but was able to sail on to Singapore’s naval base.
Malaysia’s Maritime Enforcement Agency said the area is at the start of a designated sea lane for ships sailing into the Singapore Strait, one of the world’s busiest.
A photo tweeted by Malaysian navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin showed a large rupture in the McCain’s side near the waterline. Janes, a defense industry publication, estimated the hull breach was 10 feet wide.
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