The U.S. Navy early Wednesday announced that the commander of the 7th Fleet was relieved of duty after a series of warship accidents.
Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin was dismissed “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the Navy said in a statement.
Command will be assumed by Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, the Navy said.The move follows a collision earlier this week between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker in the Pacific. The remains of some of the 10 sailors missing after the collision were found earlier this week in compartments of the damaged part of the destroyer. The McCain, a guided missile destroyer, became the second ship within three months to collide with a commercial vessel in the Pacific. Another guided-missile destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan on June 17. Seven U.S. sailors were killed in that accident. Two other accidents involving U.S. Navy ships occurred in the region earlier this year. “While each of these four incidents is unique, they cannot be viewed in isolation,” Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said earlier this week.