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This year has been a tough one for the Navy. In June and then right after in August, two Navy ships were hit by other vessels in busy shipping lanes resulting in 17 deaths of sailors. The news was filled with speculations of sabotage, hacking and inside jobs as many couldn’t believe nimble ships such as these couldn’t get out of the way of slow-moving merchant vessels.
Sadly, it was none of those things.
Both collisions were avoidable according to the official report released by the Navy on November 1st. It was pure human error and a massive oversight on their part.
If you’d like to read the full official report released by the Navy, you can view it here.
When it comes to USS Fitzgerald, the Navy stated that the accident was a result of minor errors which added up over time. “Fitzgerald’s watch teams disregarded established norms of basic contact management,” they added.
USS John S. McCain’s case was similar. Navy.mil wrote “resulted primarily from complacency, over-confidence and lack of procedural compliance. A major contributing factor to the collision was sub-standard level of knowledge regarding the operation of the ship control console.” What this basically means is that nobody was trained enough to know what they were doing.
It’s sad that sailors were killed as they slept due to these reasons. The only good that comes from this is that the Navy has identified a problem and is working to fix it. They put some high ranking sailors on the chopping block and are now focusing on more training for future seamen.
That’s the best they can do moving forward.