The Navy today announced that it is filing criminal charges against the commanding officers of the two ships that were involved in collisions earlier this year.
The commanders of the two guided-missile destroyers that were involved in fatal collisions with merchant ships in 2017 will face military criminal charges that include charges of dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide, after the two incidents that resulted in the death of 17 sailors total, USNI News has learned.
Cmdr. Bryce Benson, former commander of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), along with three Fitzgerald junior officers, face a mix charges that include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide related to the June 18 collision between the ship and ACX Crystal that resulted in the death of seven sailors, according to a statement from the U.S. Navy provided to USNI News.
Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, former commander of USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), faces similar dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide charges for the Aug. 21 collision between the guided-missile destroyer and a chemical tanker off the coast of Singapore that resulted in the death of 10 sailors.
I don’t know whether the military trials will be public (they should be), but if so they will reveal some very interesting details about what was happening on these Navy ships that allowed these collisions to occur.