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'Sudden turn' by US warship led to collision off Singapore: report

AFP  |  Singapore 

A "sudden turn" by the American warship USS led to a collision with a tanker last year off that left 10 sailors dead, a report by the city-state's government said.

Singapore's transport ministry, releasing the results of its investigation into the incident, said a "series of missteps" by the destroyer's crew and insufficient action by those of the tanker, the Alnic MC, contributed to the accident.

The vessels smashed into each other in the predawn hours of August 21, 2017 in the busy shipping lanes around the There were no casualties among the tanker's crew.

The of the is facing charges including negligent homicide and dereliction of duty, the US Navy said in January, after its own investigation into the incident found "multiple failures" by the ship's crew.

said its 35-page report did not blame any organisation or individual for the fatal crash, but found the warship made an abrupt turn after a transfer of controls caused confusion among the crew.

"The collision... happened because of a sudden turn to port (left) by JSM (John S McCain), which caused it to head into the path of the (tanker)," the report said.

It also noted that several sailors on watch at McCain during the collision had been assigned from another warship with steering that were "significantly different".

"These differences were not compensated for. Inadequacies in training and familiarisation before the task allocation may have contributed to the actions on John S. McCain," it said.

The collision took place within three minutes of the warship's sudden turn, it said, adding however that the actions taken by the tanker's crew "were insufficient to avoid" the smashup.

"When the bridge team of Alnic MC saw the turning, it presumed that the (warship) would be able to safely pass ahead," it said.

The incident came after another destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, smashed into a Philippine-flagged cargo ship off in June 2017, leaving seven sailors dead.

In a report on the two separate collisions, US said both were "preventable and the respective investigations found multiple failures by watch standers that contributed to the incidents".

The US Navy said in November that McCain collision "resulted primarily from complacency, over-confidence and lack of procedural compliance".

"In particular, McCain's disregarded recommendations from his executive officer, to set sea and anchor watch teams in a timely fashion," it said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 08 2018. 19:25 IST