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U.S. Navy sacks USS Fitzgerald chiefs over collision

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U.S. Navy sacks USS Fitzgerald chiefs over collision
U.S. Navy warship blamed for collision

The U.S. Navy has relieved the USS Fitzgerald’s leadership following the naval ship’s deadly crash with a merchant ship on June 17.

Those affected are of the ranks of commanding officer, executive officer and senior enlisted sailor.

They are Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Cmdr. Sean Babbitt, and Master Chief Petty Officer Brice Baldwin for loss of trust and confidence in their ability to lead in those positions.

Benson was relieved “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead,” according to the release, while Babbitt and Baldwin “contributed to the lack of watch stander preparedness and readiness that was evident in the events leading up to the collision.”

The Navy announced late Thursday quoting the commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet that the relieved officers were among a dozen of the ship’s crew who faced administrative action for their role in the collision.

It would be recalled that Seven U.S. sailors lost their lives when the Navy destroyer collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship in the middle of the night off the coast of Japan.

The accident was called “avoidable” and said both ships “demonstrated poor seamanship,” according to a release by the Navy.

The investigation into what caused the crash continues, but it has so far determined that there was “plenty of evidence to determine that serious mistakes were made” by members of the crew, said Admiral William Moran, vice chief of staff of the Navy.

Because the investigation is ongoing, he could not say if the Fitzgerald was “solely responsible” for the collision with the ACX Crystal.

The Navy also said “several” junior officers were relieved of duties due to “poor seamanship and flawed teamwork as bridge and combat information center watch standers.”

Read more: ABC NEWS

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