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U.S. Navy removes Seventh Fleet commander after fatal collisions in Asia
August 23, 2017 / 8:28 AM / 3 months ago

U.S. Navy removes Seventh Fleet commander after fatal collisions in Asia

TOKYO (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy on Wednesday relieved Seventh Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin of his duties after two fatal collisions involving warships in Asia in less than three months.

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, U.S. 7th Fleet Commander, attends a media briefing on the status of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, and the seven missing Fitzgerald crew members, at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan June 18, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/Files

Admiral Scott Swift, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, relieved Aucoin from duty at the U.S. Navy’s Yokosuka naval base in Japan, a U.S. Navy spokesman said. Rear Admiral Phil Sawyer, the deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet, will assume command immediately, he added.

A pre-dawn collision between a guided-missile destroyer and a merchant vessel east of Singapore and Malaysia on Monday was the fourth major incident in the U.S. Pacific Fleet this year.

The decision to relieve Aucoin was made “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the spokesman said.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Nick Macfie

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