USS John S McCain’s Sudden Turn Caused Collision with Alnic MC

The fatal collision between the Liberian-registered Alnic MC and the US warship USS John S McCain in August last year was caused by a sudden turn of the naval vessel into the path of the tanker, a final report into the incident by Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau finds.

The two ships collided on August 21, 2017 in the westbound lane of the Singapore Strait, about 4.6 nautical miles from Horsburgh Lighthouse. Ten U.S. Navy sailors lost their lives in the collision.

“The safety investigation determined that the USS John S McCain made a sudden turn to port (left) into the path of Alnic MC because of a series of missteps that took place after propulsion controls were transferred,” the report reads.

As explained, the warship’s crew did not recognize the processes involved in the transfer of propulsion and steering control due to their lack of requisite knowledge of the steering control system as a result of inadequate training.

“When the bridge team of Alnic MC saw the USS John S McCain turning, it presumed that the USS John S McCain would be able to safely pass ahead. The collision happened within three minutes of the USS John S McCain turning to port, and the actions taken by Alnic MC were insufficient to avoid the collision.”

The report added that the tanker’s bridge team was not manned in accordance with the company’s safety management system and the Master did not have full support on the bridge.

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