Singapore report: McCain made sudden turn before deadly collision

Damage sustained by USS John S. McCain Damage sustained by USS John S. McCain Royal Malaysian Navy

MARCH 8, 2018 — The Singapore Transport Safety Investigation Bureau has now issued its report on the August 21, 2017 collision beween the USS John S McCain and the Liberian flag tanker Alnic MC.

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.

It cites "inadequacies in training and familiarization" in the McCain's crew, which likely lacked the requisite knowledge of the steering control system

The collision occurred in the westbound lane of the Singapore Strait, in Singapore territorial waters about 4.6 nautical miles from Horsburgh Lighthouse and resulted in 10 fatalities on the USS John S McCain.

When the Bridge team of Alnic MC saw the USS John S McCain turning it presumed that the destroyer would be able to safely pass ahead. The accident 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 gives an insightful timeline of the events aboard each ship leading up to the incident and reaches these conclusions:

The report reaches these conclusions:

From the information gathered, the following findings are made. These findings should not be read as apportioning blame or liability to any particular organization or individual.

3.1 The collision between JSM and AM as they were transiting through the Singapore Strait happened because of a sudden turn to Port by JSM, which caused it to head into the path of AM.

3.2 JSM's sudden turn to Port was due to a series of missteps that took place after a transfer of propulsion controls, which led to a confusion as to which station had steering control, and an unintentional reduction of the Port engine throttle which increased the rate of JSM's turn to Port.

3.3 JSM's crew did not recognize the processes involved in the transfer of propulsion and steering control. The crew were likely to have lacked the requisite knowledge of the steering control system due to inadequacies in training and familiarization.

3.4 When AM's Bridge team saw JSM turning, it presumed that to safely pass ahead. The accident 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. AM's Bridge team was not manned in accordance with the company's SMS, and the Master did not have full support on the Bridge.

Download the report HERE

 

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