US officials: Navy 7th Fleet commander to be removed

2017-08-24 05:20
US Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin. (Eugene Hoshiko, AP File)

US Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin. (Eugene Hoshiko, AP File)

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Tokyo - The commander of the Navy's 7th Fleet will be removed after a series of warship accidents in the Pacific, two US officials said on Wednesday.

One official said that Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin was being removed due to the leadership's loss of confidence in his ability to command. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the decision.

The move follows four accidents involving Navy ships in the Pacific this year, two that left sailors dead and missing.

"While each of these four incidents is unique, they cannot be viewed in isolation," Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Scott Swift said late on Tuesday in Singapore. The Navy previously announced a broad review of the 7th Fleet's performance due to the incidents.

Seven sailors died in June after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off Japan. Then the USS John S McCain collided with an oil and chemical tanker off Singapore on Monday. Ten sailors are missing, and Swift said the remains of some have been found.

The decision to remove Aucoin was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. He assumed command of the 7th Fleet in September 2015. The Navy fleet is based in Yokosuka, Japan.

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