In the early Monday morning hours in the South Pacific, a guided missile destroyer of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, the USS John S. McCain, was rammed in its aft port side by a merchant vessel, causing significant damage, injuring at least five sailors and resulting in 10 others declared as missing.
The McCain and Fitzgerald incidents follow a collision and a grounding of guided-missile cruisers in the Western Pacific this year. The four incidents have prompted Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson to mount an investigation into operations in the region led by U.S. Fleet Forces commander Adm. Phil Davidson.
H/T Conservative Tribune:
According to The Washington Times, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson would neither confirm nor deny such speculation the briefing at the Pentagon, and though he stated that there was “no indication” the collision had been intentional, he also seemed to suggest that the Navy would be looking more deeply into it.
Asked about the potential for the collision to be deliberate as a result of a cyber meddling, The Hill reported that Richardson stated it was “certainly something we are giving full consideration to.”
“We have no indication that that’s the case, yet. We’re looking at every possibility so we’re not leaving anything to chance,” he said.
Richardson also spoke of the two-day operational pause that had been ordered for the entire service in the wake of the collision, and referenced the June 17 collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a cargo vessel off the coast of Japan, which had resulted in the loss of seven sailors.
“This is obviously an extremely serious incident and is the second such incident in a very short period of time,” Richardson stated. “That gives a great cause for concern that there’s something out there that we’re not getting at.”
Stars and Stripes reported that the admiral later sought to further clarify his remarks with a social media post that read: “2 clarify Re: possibility of cyber intrusion or sabotage, no indications right now … but review will consider all possibilities.”
Stars and Stripes also reported on a separate media briefing Tuesday on the incident held at the Changi Naval Base in Singapore, where Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift also addressed the speculation regarding a potential cyberattack on the ship.
Swift also left the door open to the possibility.
“I’ve heard of these reports of potential cyberattacks or cyber interference … we’ve seen no indications of that as of yet,” Swift stated. “We are not taking any consideration off the table, and every scenario will be reviewed and investigated.”
There is no doubt, that something is amiss. There have been 4 accidents since the beginning of the year. All involving US ships to be severely damaged, as if someone is sending us a message or messing with our electronics or interfering with our cybersecurity.
First, this is the second accident in almost two months. The USS McCain allegedly collided with the Almic MC, a merchant vessel east of the Strait of Malacca which involved several sailors being injured and at least10 sailors missing.
Second, back on June 17th, the USS Fitzgerald collided with another merchant vessel, Crystal ACX near the coast of Japan which involved 7 sailors drowning.
Third, on May 9th, the USS Lake Champlain collided with a fishing boat near South Korea off the Korean Peninsula.
Finally, fourth, back on January 31st the USS Antietam ran aground near it’s Yokosuka base in Japan.
It really does make you wonder….What the heck is going on?
You can bet Richardson is going to put a broad team in place to review operations and complete an investigation. It looks like the probe will be led by Adm. Philip Davidson who leads Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk.
Naval analyst Bryan Clark told USNI News on Monday that as the total number of the ships operating in the Western Pacific over the last decade has gone down, the operational tempo has remained the same or increased in certain areas.
“I would offer that in the surface community – and we’ve been talking for a long time — that the surface community has been overused,” Clark, with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis, said.
“The question the Navy has to wrestle with is we ask these ships to do more deployment time and therefore they have less time for training and preparation than they have in the past. The fleet training time has been reduced 20 to 25 percent over the last decade and yet we’re deploying the same number of ships overseas at any given day. If these ships are working 25 percent harder, where did that time come from?”
Sounds like we need urgent and corrective action taken as soon as possible.
On Sunday night, Trump tweeted, “Thoughts & prayers are w/ our @USNavy sailors aboard the #USSJohnSMcCain where search & rescue efforts are underway.”
God Bless our troops!