The collision of the guided missile destroyer USS McCain resulted in the deaths of 10 sailors. The collision of the warship took place when the ship was preparing to enter the Singapore Strait, which is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. The ship docked at Singapore and Navy drivers set to work trying to reach the dead sailors. The Divers used the latest equipment to cut open the hull and were able to reach the compartment which had been flooded and recover the bodies of the sailors. Heads had to roll and the commander of the seventh fleet, a three star Admiral, Joseph Aucoin, who had been the fleet commander since 2015, was sacked.

The sacking

This is one of the rare occasions when such a senior officer has been given marching orders. Aucoin commanded a fleet of over 70 warships and 20,000 sailors. The deaths of these 10 sailors, along with an earlier accident when another warship USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship and seven seamen were killed, was the catalyst that led to the sacking of the Admiral. The Navy said that they had lost confidence in Aucoin to command the fleet. It was a sad moment in the proud history of the U.S. Navy and gave the Chinese Navy a propaganda advantage, the New York Times reported.

The search

The search for the missing sailors was carried out on a war footing and ships and aircraft from five nations were helping in the search for the missing sailors.

The ship had collided with an oil tanker in the early hours of August 21, and the navy was finally able to find the bodies, which were inside the crushed and flooded compartment of the warship. The victims ranged in ages from 20 to 39-years-old and came from eight U.S. states.

The ship was badly damaged with a gaping hole in the hull and many compartments inside were crushed.

This was inevitable as the destroyer collided with a ship which had three times the DWT of the warship (DWT) of the warship. The Navy pressed 20 divers into service for the job, with hydraulic cutters to reach the sailors. It took the divers almost a week to recover the bodies and shows the effect of the collision and the damage the destroyer had suffered.


The cause of the August 21 collision is under investigation but serious questions have surfaced about the leadership, command, and control of the C-in- C, Vice Admiral Aucoin. The Navy has also acted with alacrity to try and stem these accidents and an operational pause for one day has been ordered all over the world. The Pacific Fleet will also carry out a ship-by-ship review of its vessels and rectify any fault that emerges.