Navy 7th fleet commander relieved after two fatal ship collisions

SINGAPORE (KUSI) — The Navy announced Wednesday the commander of its 7th Fleet will be removed from duty after two fatal ship collisions in the past two months.

U.S. 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin was relieved of duty Wednesday due to “a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift said. His duties will be taken over by Rear Adm. Phil Sawyer immediately.

In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a ship off the coast of Japan, killing seven sailors who were found in a flooded compartment near the site of impact.

This week, the USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore. Five sailors were injured and 10 were missing. Some missing sailors were recovered, Ad. Swift said Tuesday, but the search continued Wednesday.

An investigation into what caused both of the collisions was ongoing.

Some of the missing sailors began to be identified by family members Wednesday: 

John Hoagland, 20

Cynthia Kimball said her son John was still among the missing sailors. He served aboard the USS McCain since October. 

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