Navy Announces Cause Behind 2 Fatal Collisions
'Multiple failures' by sailors partly to blame for deaths of 17 others
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2017 12:30 PM CDT
In this June 18, 2017, photo, the damaged USS Fitzgerald is docked at the US naval base in Yokosuka after colliding with the Philippine-flagged container ship ACX Crystal off Japan.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

(Newser) – The Navy announced Wednesday that two collisions that killed 17 sailors over the summer were partly caused by "multiple failures" by service members in charge of making sure their ships didn't hit anything, the Washington Post reports. On June 17, the USS Fitzgerald hit a container ship off the coast of Japan. The Navy says the collision happened because, among other reasons, the crew didn't take the required maneuvering actions until far too late, didn't contact the container ship, and didn't alert their own captain.

Meanwhile, the Aug. 21 collision of the USS John S. McCain with an oil tanker near Singapore was caused by a complete loss of "situational awareness": A sailor in charge of steering didn't realize he was; another sailor only reduced speed on one side of the ship without realizing it; and the captain couldn't figure out what was going on or why the ship was turning toward the tanker. “We are a Navy that learns from mistakes," Adm. John Richardson said in a statement Wednesday.

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