What’s up with the USN?


What’s up with the USN? Two major collisions in the last two months, with a total of 17 sailors dead.  Both collisions occurred in Asia in busy areas for traffic – USS Fitzgerald near Tokyo, and USS John S. McCain near Singapore. Obviously high traffic areas are tricky, and thus the first collision could be understandable. But two collisions? You would think that the USN personnel would have been paying extra attention after the first collision. Rumours abound of equipment failure, cyber-sabotage, collisions done on purpose, and so on, but the bottom line must be situational awareness of crew members and commanders. An official/state-run Chinese newspaper (China Daily) claimed on 22 August that rather than a protector of shipping, the USN is a hazard to shipping in Asia. China now claims that it is working with ASEAN members to make the South China Sea safer while the USN is making it more dangerous.  Whatever the cause, these collisions are not helping to make the American case for its role as the guarantor of freedom of the seas.

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